Zanele Nhlapho of Mamelodi Sundowns holds trophy during the 2021 TotalEnergies CAF Women's Champions League football Final© BackpagePixAuthor: Dumisani KoyanaWinning is such a beautiful feeling and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have enjoyed their fair share of triumphs in the last 12 months. The riveting victories, epic comebacks and defensive masterclasses culminated in a historic treble. Simply put, Banyana Ba Style blazed the trail both domestically and continentally.The coaching duo of Jerry “Kappa” Tshabalala and Agnes “Madala” Nkosi have continued to preach the message of the three P’s - Positioning, Possession and Pressing - and the results have been pitch-perfect.

The Chloorkop-based side scored a jaw-dropping 113 goals and conceded just 15 times last season, thus winning the Hollywoodbets Super League, COSAFA CAF Women's Champions League qualifiers and the inaugural edition of the CAF Women's Champions League in Egypt.

This momentous feat was acknowledged at the recent CAF Awards in Morocco, where Sundowns Ladies were crowned winners in the ‘Club of the Year’ Women’s category.
Captain Zanele Nhlapho saluted the Yellow Nation and highlighted what the occasion meant for her on an individual note, “Lifting the award on behalf of the club made me so emotional. I am immensely grateful to our highly esteemed supporters for always backing us. In addition, I had the privilege of sharing the room with the African Footballer of the Year, Sadio Mane. He shook my hand and hugged me; that was one of the most memorable moments of my entire footballing career.”

Two days after the award, South Africa made history at the Women's Africa Cup of Nations thanks to a 2-1 win over hosts Morocco to clinch their first-ever continental title. Five Sundowns Ladies played vital roles as Banyana Banyana completed the tournament with a perfect record, as well as securing qualification to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Sundown’s goalkeeper Andile ‘Sticks’ Dlamini was ever-present thanks to her shot-stopping abilities. Sticks was named ‘Goalkeeper of the Competition’ and featured in the ‘Best XI of the Tournament’ named by CAF. It marked an extraordinary comeback for Sticks who almost quit playing football last year due to health issues.

“This is simply God’s grace. I thought my hopes of playing football were over last year, but thanks to the prayers of my mum and the support of Mamelodi Sundowns, I never gave up. The victory in Morocco was a miracle for me and I am humbled by the accolades I received at the tournament,” Andile stated.
Bambanani ‘Juice’ Mbane was another Sundowns player who impressed for Banyana Banyana, “The feeling of being an African champion is out of this world. At times, I thought it was not going to be possible, but we fought hard from start to finish.”

Karabo Dhlamini played mainly as a left-back during the tournament and her performances were amazing. The 20-year-old spoke on one of her distinctive attributes - her versatility, “Frankly, I enjoy playing in a variety of positions for both club and country. What matters the most is giving my best on the pitch wherever I find myself. It feels great to be an African champion.”
Sundowns Ladies representing Banyana Banyana© Sundowns MediaThalea Smidt showed her exploits in the midfield whenever she was called upon. The industrious midfielder who was praised for her craft and graft spoke on how the CAF Champions League triumph propelled the Sundowns contingents in Morocco.

“Winning the inaugural edition of the continent’s premier club competition was a big boost for us because it prepared us on how to handle the pressures of the big stage. Being a part of these historic victories makes me proud. On a personal note, the hard work continues because sustaining success is more difficult than achieving it,” Thalea declared.
Melinda Kgadiete showed her mettle as an impact player as the versatile forward featured in five of six Banyana games at the tournament. The Sundowns striker was delighted with the rousing reception the team received at the OR Tambo International Airport.

“When we landed, I could not believe my eyes because the supporters came out in their numbers to celebrate with us. I was overwhelmed with joy thanks to the love we received. To be a part of this remarkable feat means so much to me,” said Melinda.

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have laid down their mark in South African women’s football history. Pointing out that Banyana Ba Style has suffered just one defeat on the pitch since 2018 almost feels like underselling it.
As Coach Jerry always puts it, Sundowns Ladies are seeking to entrench itself as the best on the continent for years to come. So far, The Brazilians are flying high and living up to the club’s famous nickname.