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PRO PHILANI’S MZANSI WRAP: Africa rises in Qatar and Sundowns Ladies defend league title

Pro Philani looks back at the weekend’s football action which saw African teams bounce back from poor starts to the World Cup, and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies successfully defend their 2022 Hollywoodbets Super League title

Sundowns Ladies - Hollywoodbets Super League
Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Pro Philani looks back at the weekend’s football action which saw African teams bounce back from a poor start to the World Cup in Qatar, and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies successfully defend their 2022 Hollywoodbets Super League title

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Africa rises in Qatar

Following a poor start to the 2022 FIFA World Cup by African teams, round 2 fixtures seem to have provided Mother Africa with a new lease of life in Qatar.

First, the Lions of Taranga defeated host nation, Qatar by 3-1 in their second game of Group A at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha. The Senegalese had kicked off the competition with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Netherlands and needed nothing less than a win against the hosts to save their tournament.

A first-half goal by Boulaye Dia was followed by two second-half goals by Famara Diedhiou and Bamba Dieng to set up a tight finish to group A. Senegal remain 3rd in the group – trailing both the Netherlands and Ecuador by just a single point heading into the final round of fixtures.

Morocco went second in Group F after a convincing 2-0 victory over Belgium. Abdelhamid Sabiri netted the opener in the 73rd minute to fire the Dessert Foxes one up in the second half. Morocco earlier had a goal disallowed in the first half thanks to VAR which adjudged captain Romain Saiid offside from a Hakim Ziyech strike.

Morocco proved not to be discouraged by the decision and continued to frustrate the Belgians before being rewarded with the first goal. In stoppage time, it was Ziyech again who went through the Belgian defence coming from the right side of attack and laid it on the path of Zakaria Aboukhlal who made no mistake inside the box to make it 2-0.

Tunisia have a greater possibility of elimination at the tournament in Qatar following a 1-0 defeat to Australia. The last game for the North Africans is against the a free-scoring French team. France have secured their spot in the next round, and it will remain to be seen if they will put their front foot off the paddle to allow the North African to pounce.

Sundowns Ladies defend Hollywoodbets Super League Crown

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have successfully defended their 2022 Hollywoodbets Super League title following a 4-2 win against Richmond Ladies at the Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.

The Brazilians had to come from behind twice to get their win, as Richmond Ladies went into halftime with a 2-1 lead – forcing the champions to make several attacking challenges and reinforcements.

Sundowns Ladies played a total of 39 matches in 8 months, and assistant coach Thandiwe Nkosi lamented the long season they had.

“I feel very happy with the way players applied themselves. You could see with their body language that they are fatigued. The CAFWCL drained the team.”

Following their disappointing 4-0 loss in the final of the CAF Women’s Champions League, head coach Jerry Tshabalala said, “I feel happy [with the win] considering that we came from behind twice. Last season Richmond Ladies scored twice in a match against us, and they are one team that knows how to score more against us.”

Banyana Ba Style lost two matches in the entire Hollywoodbets Super League season: against UWC and TUT. UWC were the only side they failed to beat in 2022 season.

With just 1 draw, 27 wins and 82 points collected, Sundowns Ladies truly showed they are many levels above the rest in the league.

They also pocketed a total of R6.2m for winning the league and for their runner-up spot in the CAFWCL – a great achievement and return in women’s football.

Mpumi Nyandeni of JVW walked away with a top scorer achievement, netting 30 goals, including 3 hattricks.

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