Tshabalala pleased with Sundowns’ opening win in Ivory Coast

COSAFA champions Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have made a strong start to their CAF Women’s Champions League campaign following a 2-0 victory over JKT Queens from Tanzania in their Group A opener at the tournament being held in the ivory Coast.

Goals from Lebogang Ramalepe and Refilwe Tholakele sealed the win in a hard-fought contest in which Sundowns’ greater experienced shone through.

“I am more satisfied with our second half,” coach Jerry Tshabalala said. “In the first half, our opponent gave their best, and in the second half, they seemed to run out of steam, allowing us to impose our rhythm.

“For the next match against (Sporting Club) Casablanca, we will give our best as we aim for the top spot in this group.”

That match is on Wednesday, with the Moroccans having been held 1-1 by hosts Athlético d’Abidjan in their pool opener.

Veteran fullback Ramalepe was pleased with her goal and the win.

“We are delighted with our performance and to start the tournament with a victory, which boosts our confidence,” she said. “Everyone sees us already in the final, but honestly, we take one game at a time, doing things step by step.”

Sundowns are competing for the third year in a row having won the inaugural Champions League competition in 2021, before losing in the final to hosts AS FAR in the decider last year. The latter are back to defend their title and open their pool B campaign on Monday.