The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
BLACK Rhinos Queens lost out on a ticket to the Confederation of African Football Women’s Champions League when they lost 3-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in the final played in Durban yesterday.
The win saw Sundowns book a ticket to the Caf Women’s Champions League that is scheduled for Egypt later in the year.
Sundowns took the lead after 12 minutes as their pressure at the start of the game paid dividends. Melinda Kgadiete forced the error and the ball broke to Andisiwe Mgcoyi, who laid on a square pass for Lerato Kgasago to side-foot into the net.
The second goal finally arrived for The Brazilians Ladies on 78 minutes when Nonhlanhla Mthandi profited from hesitancy at the back from Queens and she dispossessed goalkeeper Precious Mudyiwa to score into an empty net.
Lesotho international Boitumelo Rabale added the third in the referee’s optional time when she fired into the top corner after skipping past one defender and unleashing an excellent strike to finish the competition.
The match was watched by Caf president Patrice Motsepe, who is a former owner of the Sundowns club, as well as a delegation from Fifa that included secretary general Fatma Samoura and chief women’s football officer Sarai Bareman.
Rutendo Makore of Black Rhinos Queens won the Player of the Tournament, with her teammate Mudyiwa also picking Golden Glove for best goalkeeper. Sundowns’ Kgadiete won the Golden Boot for her five goals in the tournament.
Meanwhile, women football enthusiast, Lewis Muzhara has heaped praise on Black Rhinos for their display in South Africa. Muzhara, who initiated and funded the LM Auctioneers’ Women Football Tournament in 2011, has long been an advocate for the creation of a Champions League competition for female football teams on the continent.
For the Harare based businessman, the icing on was when Rhinos squared off against Botswana’s Double Action in the semi-finals in which the Zimbabwean side emerged victorious.
The clash was reminiscent of the LM tournament which featured both teams.
“I had goosebumps when I heard Double Action and Rhinos are facing each other in the semifinal, for me it was actually like a final of our previous LM Auctioneers’ Women’s Tournaments which were held in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.
“We always had a Zimbabwean team and a Botswana side squaring off in the final and seeing the two teams battle was a delight for me,” he said.
Black Rhinos Queens are now expected to provide the bulk of the players in the Zimbabwe squad to take part in this month’s Cosafa Women’s Championship to be staged in Gqeberha, South Africa from 28 September to 9 October.