If Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies get a win over debutant, Sporting Club Casablanca in the final of the 2023 CAF Women’s Champions League, he will become the most successful coach in the tournament.
He won the maiden edition in Egypt with the South African champions before Mohamed Amine Alioua won the 2022 edition with a 4-0 win over Sundowns in the final in Morocco.
With the 2022 winners ettling for a bronze medal match, another Moroccan side awaits Tshabalala’s side in the final on Sunday.
Sundown has had one over Sunday’s opponent with a 1-0 win over the Moroccan side in the group stage. The only unbeaten team in this year’s competition is yet to concede any goal after four games.
“It’s going to be a tricky game that we are going to play. We saw how they played the first game and when they also played the team from Ghana, we saw how they played. We just have to worry about ourselves and not about them,” Tshabalala told journalists during his pre-match press conference in Korhogo on Saturday.
Out of the 14 games played by the Brazilians in the tournament, they have won 12, drawn one, and lost the other which was during the 2022 finals to AS FAR FC.
“We conceded four goals in the final last year.” He added. “It is in the past and we have learned the hard way. We are going to be very cautious in terms of how we approach the game and know that they are also going to bring their hay game tomorrow. We don’t want to be disappointed again but to be victorious.”
Following the footsteps of the men’s team which won the maiden African Super League might have both positive and negative effects on the team’s morale ahead of Sunday’s grand finale.
“We hope what the men’s team achieved doesn’t put the girls under pressure.” He continued. “We are here for our mission as they were there for their mission which they accomplished. It is up to us as the ladies’ team to accomplish our mission which is to win the CAF Women’s Champions League again. We don’t want to put ourselves under pressure and play the normal way, respect our opponents, and do our best on the field of play.”
The team has only conceded five goals in all 14 games played at the tournament since 2021 but Tshabalala downplays the team’s formation as a superior and invincible one.
“I wouldn’t say that our formation is invincible. There were games in which we were tested and felt others had detected our weaknesses and realised where our team was vulnerable. If you look at how we play, we are a team that creates lots of scoring opportunities. Basically, I think why must we fix what is not broken? We believe in our formation.
“We worry that we don’t know the kind of game they will come up with and that is the main concern. Notwithstanding, we don’t want to worry about them.
“Since the inception of the team, I am not the only coach. We have had a previous coach who passed on, may his soul rest in peace coach Brian Dube. There was nothing much from the management. The task that I was given was the fact that we needed to build the Mamelodi Sundowns brand which of course has the vision of trying to make the team one of the best teams in Africa. As I speak to you today, I see that happening.” He concluded.
Sundowns is making their third straight appearance in the final of the CAF Women’s Champions League while SC Casablanca is making their debut appearance in the final in their first-ever appearance in the tournament.