Coach Jerry during a training sessionAuthor: Dumisani Koyana Photos: Weam Mostafa - BackpagePix “It is going to be a very difficult season for us.”- Tshabalala.The quest for a fourth domestic league title is one of the objectives of the Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies’ team. This is a clear message from Banyana Ba Style’s Coach, Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala, who has been at the helm of the team during some of their monumental victories. After relinquishing their CAF Women’s Champions League trophy in Morocco last year against AS FAR, the Mamelodi Sundowns Digital Magazine crew sat down with the Kappa to find out how the season is going and to discuss the team’s ambitions for 2023.“It is going to be a very difficult season for us,” expressed the Coach. “The standard of the league is growing. We had a great season last year where we won the league convincingly, but it also came with some upsets at the CAF Champion’s League final. This campaign we have brought in a few new players to strengthen our side because want to dominate again. There were positions we identified as the technical team and saw the need to strengthen the team to create balance and competition within the squad.”
The Coach who reigns from the Free State spoke about how they need to use the past as a learning curve for the season, “What happened in Morocco is history but we can use the experience to motivate the ladies and ensure we use the domestic league to rectify the shortcomings we experienced in the Champions League so that when we go back, we are in the right frame of mind,” added Coach Tshabalala.

At the beginning of the season the league had some new contenders coming from national play-offs and one particular team acquired status of an existing club. Those that were promoted included University of Pretoria (Tuks) and Copperbelt ladies whilst TS Galaxy was purchased from Vasco Da Gama.

The Banyana Ba Style mentor also shared his feelings and what he expects from them, ”It’s positive to have new sides coming to the league and giving us a different challenge. TS Galaxy, which also has Premier Soccer League status, we hope will bring competition on and off the field. Tuks is a very good side and have some seasoned players who have a point to prove; I think that they will make it to the top three at the end of the season.”
Coach Jerry Tshabalala during a press conference at the CAF Champions League tournament Turning to the ladies academy structure, the future of the team is looking bright. Last year, the ladies Engen Knockout team lost in the final to JVW with most of the players participating in the tournament were between the ages of 13 and 17. With the likes of Andile Dlamini, Rhoda Mulaudzi and Andisiwe Mgcoyi having obtained their coaching badges, it’s not by luck that they have been deployed to look after the future of the Mamelodi Sundowns ladies team. The Coaching trio is currently working at the youth structures of the club.

Coach Jerry gave us his input of having senior team players in these positions, “The young players can learn a lot from their experience which creates some continuity. They understand the culture of the team so it can be passed on to the young ones. They won the VW Cup and now have an opportunity to go to Portugal and compete internationally. They are also growing as individuals as they are just starting their coaching careers and we must give thanks to the club for creating such platforms”, expressed the Coach.
With the FIFA Women’s World Cup set to kick off on the 20th of July in Australia and New Zealand, the man on the helm for Banyana Ba Style shared his views on the tournament and how Banyana Banyana will fare, “We stand a good chance to advance from the group we are in. We know that Sweden is ranked above us, however, if we can get a good result against them, we will be off to a great start. I don’t believe that Argentina and Italy pose a strong threat to us. We played against the likes of Brazil and recently traveled to the Turkish Cup where we performed well."

"These are the types of games that we need for the preparations, and I trust that Coaches Desiree Ellis and Thinasonke Mbuli will lead the girls with pride”, concluded the 2022 Hollywoodbets Coach of the season.

With the Hollywoodbets Super League underway and a few matches played, the Sundowns Ladies have gotten the season off to a positive start. However, as Coach Jerry expressed, it’s not going to be easy to dominate this season with the strength of the teams and ladies wanting to get noticed and fight for space in the Banyana Banyana squad.
University of the Western Cape have already found themselves in the top position, but with a long way to go until the Champions are crowned, the Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will be challenging to retain their title and battle their way into the continental competition to once again be crowned the Queens of African Football.