Mamelodi Sundowns ladies to finally be crowned
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JOHANNESBURG - The South African Football Association (Safa) is making swift strides to ensure that Mamelodi Sundowns ladies’ team get their royalties after winning the inaugural National Women’s League (NWL) in the recently concluded season.
Late in June, Safa declared the NWL complete, amid the pandemic. Sundowns, who had won their 21 matches, were crowned champions, while the Janine van Wyk ladies’ team and MaIndies were promoted from the Sasol League.
However, due to the lockdown, Safa couldn’t crown Sundowns as champions and deliver the proposed R500 000 prize money, trophy and medals.
Jerry Tshabalala, the Brazilians coach, through a zoom press conference with the South African Football Journalists Association, confirmed they were in touch with the mother body about their winnings.
“I think it was a month or six weeks ago when we received a message that there would be an award ceremony,” Tshabalala explained.
“I think last week, they also communicated that they are at the final stages of finalising the ceremony.”
Sundowns qualified for the inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League. However, the commencement date of the continent’s premier club knockout competition is uncertain.
Tshabalala has been analysing some of the teams they might face.
“I’ve seen that in Nigeria women’s football is taken very seriously and the ladies’ teams are being supported by men. We are going to have a tough competition.”
Tshabalala continued: “I also watched a couple of teams from Cameroon. Strength-wise you can see that they are bigger than us, so as a coach you have to come up with a better plan of how you can outclass them.”
Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic ladies’ team are the only two clubs in the NWL that have parent clubs in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). The Brazilians ladies’ team, who are also owned by mining mogul Patrice Motsepe, ensure that they at least operate semi-professionally.
“In the past, we didn’t get the support the way we were supposed to. But in the past five years, we’ve been getting a lot of support, especially from the management side,” said Tshabalala who has coached the club since 2012.
“I think we are the first team to have players sign semi-professional contracts. So, all our players are contracted. And when you look at the Sundowns ladies, we wear the exact clothing as the men’s team.”