The second edition of the South African Football Association National Women’s League (SNWL) kicked off on Saturday, 24 April 2021, after last year’s tournament failed to take place due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The inaugural competition’s runners-up, Tshwane University of Technology ladies FC began their campaign when they played host to University of Western Cape (UWC) FC in a thrilling 2-2 encounter at TUT stadium in Pretoria West, on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams stamped their authority and showed their intention in the early minutes of the match by passing the ball around. With Banyana Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis, in the grandstands, players from both teams were looking to impress the gaffer for future selection into the national team. TUT ladies drew first blood as Mapule Kgoale scored against her former team on the 17th minute.
The goal however didn’t slow down the determined UWC who put pressure on the uncharacteristic TUT side. They moved the ball around and with exceptional transition play in the midfield, Snegugu Zondi levelled matters with a screamer of a goal outside the box to give the visiting team an equaliser on the 25th minute.
The match went to the interval at 1-1 with UWC having 55% of ball possession compared to 45% of TUT. UWC made a change when Jersey number 7, Tshwarelo Mpuru replaced the goal-scorer before the start of the second half.
The introduction of Abongile Dlani in the second half nearly paid off as she made her presence felt on the 56th minute of play, when she found herself 1v1 with TUT keeper but her attempt went inches wide off the goal post. Eight months of no competitive football finally showed in the second half, with the referees whistle dominating. It was sluggish play from both sides as tackles were flying all over and most of the play disrupted due to injuries.
Midfielder Katlego Khwinana who was introduced in the second half to control play for TUT scored against run of play in the 86th minute to give TUT the lead. What seemed to be a win for the Tshwane-based side was short-lived as UWC had other plans. Playmaker, Noxolo Cesane released Antonia Maponya who scored a tremendous thunderous scorcher outside the box to salvage an equaliser for UWC in the referee’s additional time.
In her post match interview TUT Coach Anna Monate said: “We conceded both goals through our mistakes. It is two points dropped for us. Players need to switch on for 90 minutes to avoid such. But so far I am proud of the girls.”
UWC coach, Thinasonke Mbuli, was satisfied with how his charges faired against the high scoring TUT who scored 83 goals in the first edition. “I knew after a long break it won’t be easy. We prepared well in the pre-season. So, we were motivated and it showed today. We went in all prepared, dominated the first half. And made few mistakes there and there, but I am delighted with the team’s performance,” said Mbuli.
Sasol Women’s League Chairperson, Emma Hendricks was delighted by the quality displayed in the match. “I am impressed with what I saw today. The girls are really closing in the gap on the men. We are using the platform to pave a way for the future of Banyana Banyana, said Hendricks.
SAFA NEC Member Elizabeth de Koker said: “It was a really good game. What we have seen today is a motivation for all young girls who want to play football. Women’s football is developing and the future of Banyana Banyana is looking bright. We have to nurture the talent of these girls all the way from amateur leagues.
SAFA President Danny Jordaan was also taken by the quality shown by the ladies. “It was a wonderful match. You could see the quality from the ladies. We are looking forward to yet another competitive SNWL season. The teams have looked around and signed quality players. We are happy that players will now fight for spots for Banyana Banyna.
Other Match day 1 results:
Mamelodi Sundown Ladies beat Golden Ladies 4-0
University of Johannesburg drew 1-1 with Bloemfontein Celtics
Thunderbirds Ladies won 2-0 against Durban Ladies
Tsunami Queens beat Coal City Wizard 4-1
Richmond United lost 3-6 to First Touch Academy
Ma-Indies Ladies lost 1-5 to JVW FC