IF SOUTH Africa had a professional women’s football league, the women’s game would fare much better.
The current Sasol League National Championships are a case in point – proving there is a lot of talent in women’s football. It should be nurtured properly, however, if Mzansi plans to conquer the continent.
The opening match of the championships between Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies in Mpumalanga yesterday gave a taste of how things could turn out if women’s soccer had its own league.
Sundowns and Celtic, the only women’s teams affiliated with Absa Premiership sides, showed that on the field of play, they are well run teams.
Celtic, reigning Sasol champions, defeated Sundowns 3-0 in their clash at Kabokweni Stadium near Mbombela.
Emily Moholoholo scored for Celtic and captain Boitumelo Rabala converted two penalties to be named Queen of the Match for her efforts.
Sundowns, who have some 14 players in SA’s national teams, the Under-17s, Under-20s and Banyana Banyana, were expected to steal the show with their galaxy of stars, but Celtic’s defence was too strong. Downs were just not able to break through to close in on goal.
Sundowns coach Jerry Tshabalala said: “The result is disappointing but we’re privileged to work under the umbrella of Sundowns. You could see competition was tough.
“It’s a pity all teams are not this fortunate. If all the teams were affiliated with PSL teams, the standard of women’s football would be very competitive.”
Celtic coach Edwin Lesene was impressed by his charges’ performance and said they would need to stay grounded as defending champions.
He said: “We have played Sundowns several times, so we had an idea what they are like.
“We won’t say we are already in the semifinals, we have to respect our next opponents.”
Next up for them are Limpopo’s Kanatla Ladies, today at 3.30pm.
Celtic get their chance to play Kanatla tomorrow (1pm).
Tshabalala said they would need to eliminate their defensive mistakes to win their next match.
“We were caught napping at the back and they punished us. With the other two penalties, the defenders were sleeping.
“This game was very important. We need to tighten our grip in defence against Kanatla to show that we deserve to be here as Gauteng champions.”
In the other match of the day, hosts Coal City Wizards thumped RC Mills from the Northern Cape 6-0.