Sundowns Ladies are determined to follow in the footsteps of the men's team and win the Caf Champions League.
In the inaugural Caf Women's Champions League final, which will take place in Cairo at 7 p.m. SA time on Friday, the rivalry between Ghana and South Africa will be ratcheted up a notch. Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will take on Hasaacas Ladies in Cairo at 7 p.m. SA time.
After Bafana Bafana's shocking expulsion from the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers at the hands of the Black Stars in the Cape Coast on Saturday, tensions between the two countries have risen to an all-time high.
The South Africans suspected match manipulation and fixing after Bafana Bafana was knocked out of contention for a place in Qatar under dubious circumstances. Senegalese referee Maguette Ndiaye and her assistants awarded a controversial penalty that ultimately resulted in Ghana winning the match 1-0 and advancing to the playoff rounds. Bafana Bafana was knocked out of contention for a place in Qatar under dubious circumstances.
A number of dubious decisions were made by Ndiaye and his assistants, which has led to suspicions that match-fixing may have taken place, primarily in relation to the decisive penalty. The South African Football Association (Safa) is investigating.
An official complaint from South Africa has been received by Fifa, which has requested that SAFA and the Ghana Football Association submit their heads of arguments by Sunday, while a decision is being taken on whether the subject justifies further examination.
The controversy has made headlines across the continent and around the world, and when Sundowns Ladies take against Hasaacas Ladies, there will be even greater attention placed on the officials.
However, with the video assistant referee (VAR) in place for the final at 30 June Stadium, Sundowns Ladies and their supporters will be hoping that the technology eliminates the possibility of match-deciding blunders from officials in the future.
"It's an important game for us." We had a strong desire to be here, and we made it happen. As a result, we were aware of their strengths and weaknesses and were well prepared," Sundowns Ladies head coach Jerry Tshabalala stated.
It's important to note that they're powerful, tall, and quite physical, and the only way to beat them is to employ our quick players, since we've seen that their defense is a little sluggish.
With 1-0 wins over Kenya's Vihiga Queens and Nigeria's Rivers Angels, as well as a goalless draw against Morocco's ASFAR, the Sundowns Ladies have not conceded a goal in their four matches in the tournament and have advanced as Group B winners. On the negative side, they have only scored two goals in that time.
Despite losing 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out to Equatorial Guinea's Malabo Kings on Monday evening, Banyana Ba Style coach Tshabalala believes his team is well-prepared to go the distance if the match goes to extra time. He also believes his team is well-aware of the fact that they will need to score to turn the match in their favor if the match goes to penalties.
While Tshabalala believes his team's defensive performance was sufficient to advance from the group stage, he believes it would be more difficult in the knockout rounds. "We know that if we don't score goals in the knockout stages, we will be eliminated," he said.
"Strikers win games, but defenders win tournaments," says the coach. However, I feel that we will score more than two goals on Saturday.
'If we are required to play for more than 90 minutes, we will be ready to do so, but we do not wish to do so,' stated Tshabalala.
Under coach Yussif Basigi, the Hassacas Ladies have performed admirably, and the squad has scored the most goals in the tournament so far this season.
"Being in the final game implies that both teams are competing for something significant - the trophy — and we are coming to win the championship and there is no turning back," Basigi explained. "We are coming to win the championship and there is no going back." My confidence in my goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and attackers is unwavering. "There will be more variety in the way the team plays," says the coach.
Chuene Morifi was virtually unstoppable in the semifinals, and the Sundowns Ladies will be impossible to contain if she continues in this vein of play.
The coach explained that "we understand their style of play and have seen the goals they've conceded - and it's something we've been prepared for."
"The coach has been pressing me to contribute to the goal-scoring effort, and I am hopeful that I will do so tomorrow."
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