‘The club has a taken a policy to reward these women,’ says Sundowns chairman
There is a question mark over whether there is prize money for the Caf Women’s Champions League winners and participants, but Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will still smile all the way to the bank after the club’s chairperson Thlopie Motsepe confirmed on Sunday that the 2021 African champions will be financially rewarded by the club.
Coach Jerry Tshabalala and his team etched their names into the history books when they defeated Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies 2-0 to win the inaugural Women’s Champions League crown in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Friday.
Banyana Ba Style arrived back in the country on Sunday morning and received a raucous welcome from hundreds of adoring supporters when they emerged from the international arrivals terminal at OR Tambo International Airport.
Sundowns Ladies captain Zanele Nhlapho led the team out carrying the silverware and the medals, but the absence of the winners’ cheque was the only missing link as Sundowns supporters broke out in song and dance.
But Thlopie Motsepe, the eldest son of club owner and the president of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe, committed to rewarding the team financially.
Motsepe was quoted in media reports before they left for Cairo as reportedly saying each player will receive R200,000, but the 32-year-old chairperson did not want to commit to figures on Sunday.
“It sounds like everyone in this room feels that these ladies should be rewarded, am I correct?” said Motsepe when asked if the ladies will be financially rewarded.
“The club has a taken a policy to reward these women for the outstanding job that they have done and this is something that we are taking care of.
“It is between us [the figures] and the ladies and the technical team but most definitely, it goes without saying that what they have achieved deserves awards and rewards.
“I think out of respect for the organisation because they still have to tell us what they are going to do in terms of prize money, we do not want to reveal any figures but we have taken care of that as a club.”
Motsepe said he hopes that the Sundowns’ continental triumph will in the long run inspire more young female players to play the game.
“The future of SA women’s football looks bright and I think the sky is the limit.
“We hope that this team will inspire many young SA female players to achieve what these heroines have achieved.”
Sundowns Ladies coach Tshabalala said he was surprised with the quality and competition at the tournament.
“It was an acid test and it would be nice for us to have that kind of competition on a weekly basis,” said Tshabalala.
“We were a bit shocked in our first two games to see that the competition was very tough. We thought it was going to be a walk in the park and we were surprised.”
Captain Nhlapho thanked South Africans for the support the team has enjoyed and credited the success to team work.
“It means a lot to us,” said Nhlapho.
“To be honest the team worked incredibly hard and we managed to do it because both our coaches were always pushing us and kept telling us that this is not going to be an easy journey for us.”
Defender Bambanani Mbane, the 2020 Belarusian Women’s Championship winner, said: “We are really grateful for the support that we have received since the day we left the country for Egypt till today when we are coming back with this trophy.”
Banyana Ba Style added to the men’s team achievement of winning the Caf Men’s Champions League in 2016.