With the semi-final place of the 2023 CAF Women’s Champions League sealed by South African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, the coach of the team, Jerry Tshabalala is not thinking of revenge.
The COSAFA (Southern Africa) champions lost the final 4-0 to ASFAR FC (Morocco) considering a potential rematch in the semi-final.
Sundowns is yet to beat the Moroccan side in the tournament after two head-to-head games.
The first meeting ended in a 0-0 draw in the group stage of the 2021 edition while the host of the competition last year secured a whooping 4-0 win in the second encounter last year.
Tshabalala is focussing on the title ahead of any form of revenge from his side.
“We are not here for any revenge. The focus is on ourselves and don’t want to put our legs off the pedals. We just want to fly and win the tournament. To stay calm and win the competition is our focus,” Tshabalala told pressmen after the 3-0 win over Athletico FC which maintained the club’s perfect run so far in this year’s tournament.
Sundowns had to put forward a superior tactic to be able to tame the host with three goals in the last 15 minutes of the game.
“We knew what they were capable of and realised that in the last 15 minutes of the game which made us work on the fresh players.” He added. “As our opponents were tired, we had to introduce fresh legs that used the wings to kill the game.
“We knew the weakness of Athletico. When you look at the starting lineup, I brought a lot of young players with energy. There was nothing special in what I told the players in the locker room. I just emphasize the fact that our opponents are very physical and we execute our plans in the second half.”
With the group stage done and dusted, Tshabalala is not afraid of any team ahead of the semi-final games.
“To be African champions, you just have to play all the teams. We are ready for everyone.” He continued.
“We have learned a lot in this group after playing three different teams with three different styles. We have gathered experience from all aspects of the game. It has prepared us for the semi-finals.
“The system of play can be changed at any given time. It all depends on the opponents. That is our philosophy and how we play. It took us ten years to develop this philosophy. It is part of the system which can be changed at any given time.
“As a coach, we try to rotate the as many times as we can to give other players the chance to play. We don’t want to have scenarios where players are angry but to try and give them chances as much as we can. We also need to take into consideration that some of our players are on yellow cards. If they have yellow cards today, they won’t be available for the semi-final. As you can see we made seven changes to the starting line up today because four of our players are on yellow cards. We needed to refresh the team as much as we can.” He concluded.