Local champion’s sizzling start in SA
Double Action got down to action in record quick time at the on-going CAF Champions League qualifiers in South Africa, needing just 40 seconds to find the back of the net in Wednesday’s opener with Green Buffaloes.
Captain fantastic, Lesego Radiakanyo’s brave header was the fastest goal clocked at the regional tournament in its three-year history.
Although the local ladies weren’t able to build on the dream start and were eventually pegged back by substitute Siomela Mapepa’s 50th minute strike, a point against the Zambian champions represents a decent day’s work.
With Lesotho Defence Force and Ntopwa FC grinding out a 1-1 stalemate of their own in the other game, Group A remains fascinatingly poised, balanced on a knife-edge.
For Double Action, who are looking to make the knockout stages for the third year in a row, the adventure continues on Friday, when they face Lesotho’s battle-hardened soldiers at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban.
The ‘Star Stripes Forever’ conclude the group stages with a trip into the unknown, when they come up against Malawi’s Ntopwa FC, who are taking part in the competition for the first time.
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The top two teams from the group qualify for the semis, where the runners-up are likely to face the formidable prospect of a match-up with two-time defending African Champions, Mamelodi Sundowns.
Double Action, who came third at last year’s event after crushing Comoros champions, Olympic de Moroni 3-0 in the loser’s final, are desperate to go two steps further this time around.
To avoid meeting the Brazilians in the semis, they will likely have to top their group.
With a squad boasting several national team players, including Radiaakanyo, Bame Mokibe, Boitumelo Gammu and Segakolodi Didukanyane, they have the talent to do just that.
Speaking to Voice Sport, Coach, William Monene revealed the team began building for the tournament since early July, almost immediately after sealing their place in SA courtesy of their DTCB Women Championships triumph.
Preparations included three intense weeks of training at their home ground followed by a two-week camp at Lekidi Center.
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“We tried a lot of things tactically, technically and physically I think the girls are ready. We had a couple of friendly games including the one against Lesotho national team and won the game 1-0. Our last game was against Maruapula boys U19 team which we drew 1-1. All my players are available ready for selection. There are not many changes in our team in terms of new signings so the girls understand each other’s play,” said Monene, adding he was targeting a spot in the final as his minimum objective.
The team travelled with BFA Safeguarding Officer, Galeboe Gaboeme, following club owner, Senki Sesinyi’s suspension from all football activities on allegations of sexual harassment.