Mamelodi Sundowns Captain, Zanele Nhlapho, scored the winning goal against Rivers Angels in Matchday 2 of Group B, to grant her team the second win in TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League, Egypt 2021.
For a very passionate team captain, Zanele was attached to football since she was a little kid.
“At 6 years old, football was very interesting for me. My family encouraged me to play and then I started playing with a girls’ team after playing in the streets for a long time. I transferred between teams until I joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 2007 and I’ve been playing for that team since then. I only played abroad in 2019-2020 season and then came back here in 2021”, Zanele told CAFOnline.com.
Having a Women’s Champions League in Africa means everything for the Sundowns’ Captain. “Playing in the TotalEnergies WCL for the first time will open opportunities for us, it’s an honor for us to be here after being the champions of COSAFA. There are many players who wish to be in our place right now, we are very grateful to be here. And I feel it can open more opportunities for me, so I’m grateful,” she added.
As a female footballer, Zanele thinks women’s football should be taken care of. “We are never taken seriously as female footballer, but I feel that this is changing gradually. We should be equal to men in this sport because we play it well,” explained the talented defender.
Zanele sees her team capable of winning the maiden Women’s Champions League edition. “We have a very good team and experience; mix these two and this will give you what you want. We left South Africa as champions and we want to leave Egypt as champions as well, this is our target. It’s Mamelodi Sundowns; we keep singing, we keep going, we keep working!”
Nhlapho feels the responsibility as a team captain to guide the young girls in her team and those in the world. “Every girl should keep on working hard because anything is possible in life. I never thought I’d end up here one day, but it’s possible. It happened for us, and it can happen for anyone. And never neglect your school, school comes first along with football. Education will make you accomplish your dreams, so take your future seriously, that’s what I tell our youngsters in the team.”
“I went through a lot in my life, it was never easy. You need to be disciplined in your life, to focus, take responsibility and work harder than you can, that’s what I did and will keep doing” She concluded.