Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Jerry Tshabalala has downplayed his side’s blistering start to their CAF Women’s Champions League title defence following Thursday’s thrashing of Wadi Degla at Grand Stade de Marrakech.
The Brazilians made it two wins in two matches in a row at the start of their Morocco 2022 campaign by beating the North African champions 5-0 in Marrakech, following up on their 2-1 opening hard-fought triumph over Nigerian side Bayelsa Queens.
In 2021, Sundowns had managed one goal per game in their group stage campaign en route to their title glory in Egypt, this time, they have rampantly notched seven from just two games.
When asked what has possibly changed, ‘Kappa’ as popularly called, attributed the improvements, notably in terms of goalscoring to the new data analyst on his technical crew.
“We haven’t changed that much, there’s nothing that we’ve changed. I still believe that in terms of system, we still operating the same system and yea you know, credit must go to our management in terms of their support,” Tshabalala told CAFOnline.com.
“The team in terms of what we managed to do and what we managed to achieve. Last year, it was not that we were not getting the chances but our only problem was converting them.
“So basically, the data analysis is helping us with information. We played too much on the ball, so we needed to see them play better, we also needed to be wiser in terms of how we played the games.
First team ever to score FIVE goals in a single #CAFWCL game! ✨@SundownsLadies | #EmpoweringOurGame pic.twitter.com/XQLNI3uQi0— #CAFWCL (@CAFwomen) November 3, 2022
Boitumelo Rabale’s brace and a strike each from Lelona Daweti, Melinda Kagdiete and Bambanani Mbane ensured the South African champions zoom past the Egyptian queens and inch closer to a semi-final berth in the competition.
And the 42-year-old manager insists the massive victory did not come easy while lauding his players for the ruthless display.
“It was not an easy game for us. It was quite difficult but credit must go to our girls. It might be easy in the face of the people, but it isn’t easy for us,” he continued.
“They really prepared for this game, I told them that day you don’t give your ball away as they did in the previous game. At some point, we were just kicking the ball away for the sake of kicking but to retain much of ball possession.”
Despite their incredible start, Sundowns will need at least a point from the last group game against TP Mazembe on November 6 and Tshabalala is upbeat about their title defence chances but is also wary of the challenges ahead.
“Our ambition in this tournament will always be to defend our title as the champions. It’s not going to be easy honestly but we believe we can achieve it. We need to start preparing for every game and get ready to go for it.”
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