Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies head coach Jerry Tshabalala is hard at work analysing and plotting against some of the teams his side might face in the inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League in 2021.
During this period of amateur football inactivity, Tshabalala is leaving nothing to chance in studying Sundowns Ladies potential opponents in the continental club football competition way ahead of time.
‘Banyana Ba Style’ qualified for the Champions League, following their total dominance in the inaugural SAFA National Women’s League (SNWL), clinching the title with a 100 per cent win record in 21 matches.
“We have been working as you know there were announcements made that we are going to be representing the country in the Champions League. As a coach you have to be one step ahead,” said Tshabalala during a Zoom press conference of the South African Football Journalists Association (SAFJA).
Given that Tshabalala led Downs Ladies to the SNWL triumph, you could be forgiven for assuming that the coach is in relaxation mode. “I have given the players [training – fitness] programme to see to it that they stay fit,” he said.
“I have already gathered videos of the teams from the other countries, a team from Nigeria, Rivers Angels, so we are not just sitting because of the [coronavirus] pandemic.
“I’ve seen that in Nigeria women’s football is taken very seriously and the ladies’ teams are being supported by men. It means that are going to have a tough competition,” added Tshabalala.
“I have also watched a few 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. We need to come with a strategy to overcome their strength which is height.
However, the commencement date of the first-ever Women’s Champions League is yet to be confirmed with the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad insisting that the league will without a doubt start in 2021.
“With regards to the model, no matter what the problem could be, we must start in 2021. We will have 10 to 15 clubs from several countries that are going to participate, and we are going to start in 2021.
Tshabalala, who has steered ‘The Brazilians’ since 2012 went to state that in the last five years his team has been receiving a lot of support from the club’s management.
“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,” concluded Tshabalala.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi