Impetus’ African correspondent Esther Owusua Appiah-Fei updates us on all the CAF Women’s Champions League action as the semi-finals took place.
Action from the semi-final between Mamelodi Sundowns (right) and Malabo Kings. Pic: CAF Women
The CAF Women’s Champions League has been nothing short of enthralling and riveting, capturing all the emotions as Africa and the world watch history unfold.
The Semi-Final matches of this tournament were nerve-wracking but managed to serve their purpose to many fans watching.
After an eventful group stage that saw hosts, Wadi Degla, River Angels, AS Mande, and Vihiga Queens exit, the stage was set for the final four to battle out to determine who made it to the final. The endearing yet enthralling Hasaacas Ladies were the first team to book their tickets to the finals after thumping ASFAR on a 2-1 scoreline. Mamelodi Sundowns were the second to book their tickets after a dramatic penalty shootout with Malabo Kings. The stage has been set, the big question which lingers on is “who is going to lift the trophy for the inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League?” That question will be answered today (Friday 21st November).
Hasaacas Ladies are on an unbeaten record even after stubborn Wadi Degla held them to a 2-2 draw. Prior to that, they had beaten Malabo Kings (3-1) and AS Mande (3-0) and looked poised for the semi-finals. ASFAR on the other hand had quite a convincing win against River Angels but then shriveled in their next two group games where they were beaten by Vihiga Queens (2-0) and drew against Mamelodi Sundowns (0-0). Advancing into the semi-finals was a close shave after Vihiga Queens failed to capitalize on their initial three point advantage after losing to River Angels.
Hasaacas were to face ASFAR on Monday, November 15 for the first semi-final game and this was a knock-out game. Both teams knew the propensity of this match and what it meant to their fans and countrymen back home. Hasaacas as usual powered into the game with their signature attack-minded tactics. Doris Boaduwaa finally scored her long-awaited goal for the campaign to give Hasaacas Ladies the lead.
ASFAR responded after Najt Badri converted Fatima’s cross into the back of the net to cancel the deficit. The second half saw both teams determined to find that pivotal goal which can etch their names in history, That breaking point happened after Doris Boaduwaa surged forward on a powerful run where she launched the ball into the box of ASFAR and super striker Evelyn Badu was at the right place to convert it into a goal.
Hasaacas Ladies took the lead but prior to that, Perpetual Agyekum missed a penalty kick but the resiliency of this team manifested when they regained their lead. Try as ASFAR may, they couldn’t level the scoreline and Hasaacas sailed through to the finals of the inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League. The celebration was definitely out of this world and they were going to write history in the best possible form.
The game between Mamelodi Sundowns and Malabo Kings was undoubtedly a massive headliner. Mamelodi Sundowns proved they are the queens of the conservative style of football in the competition thus far. They haven’t conceded any goal from open play and defensively, they are simply the best.
The game against Malabo did not hinder their proclivity to step up and defend. That was a style they weren’t going to compromise on. The game was majorly a midfield hassle but try as Malabo may, they were unable to break the defensive line of the Mamelodi Sundowns. Stephanie Drepoba, the star player for the Kings was injured in the early moments of the game and though she was treated, she just couldn’t find her rhythmic flow especially with her frontline partners Grace Bolongi and Bella Rose. Mamelodi’s Zanelenhlapho was always there to keep them in check. Both teams had to be extremely tactical to create chances but that only exposed how lagging their frontline was. The game bled into extra-time and eventually penalties. Mamelodi Sundowns stood tall against Malabo Kings after a dramatic penalty shootout which ended 6-5 Mamelodi.
Mamelodi Sundowns earned their berth for the final of the CAF Women’s Champions League against Hasaacas Ladies on Friday, November 19, 2021.
Malabo Kings will go head to head with ASFAR in the third-place playoff game on Thursday, November 18.
Esther Owusua Appiah-Fei will review the inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League Final for Impetus in the coming days.