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Redemption time for Rivers Angels in potentially thrilling tie with Mamelodi Sundowns

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Nigeria’s Rivers Angels have an opportunity to make amends for their opening defeat when they face South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, this Tuesday evening.

 

Nigeria and South  Africa are rivals in women’s football. In this encounter, it is advantage Mamelodi Sundowns, the women’s team of CAF President, Patrice Motsepe. Their opening match win put them in vantage position to aim for a place in the semifinals.

The Group B Matchday 2 of the CAF Women’s Champions League will be a thriller to watch, knowing both sides quality and hopes.

An unexpected 3-0 defeat to Morocco’s ASFAR in their opening fixture meant Rivers Angels, who came to Cairo with great hopes, are in a tough situation where they need nothing but a win in their second group game.

Rivers Angels arrived barely 24 hours before their opening game and are expected to be in a better shape when they take on COSAFA Champions Sundowns on Tuesday.

Rivers Angels’ coach, Edwin Okon makes travel-weary as excuse for humiliating defeat

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Edwin Okon: My players are travel weary…

While Mamelodi Sundowns are looking for a second victory in the ongoing CAF Women’s league, the Nigerian coach is still reeling tales of travel fatigue as escuse of Rivers Angels’ defeat on Saturday.

“The team is tired from all the traveling issues and that’s the normal result. My job is to pick up their spirit,”  Edwin Okon told CAF website.

For the South African champions, one more win will do it to the final four. Massandawana scored early through Melinda Kgadete and held on to take maximum points against Vihiga Queens.

Sundowns missed numerous scoring chances in their opening game, an aspect coach Agnes Nkosi will try to deal with before their second match.

His assistance, Agnes Nkosi spoke in similar vein. “It’s good for us to have the three points to get the confidence the players need for future matches. We could’ve changed the result  if we’d converted our chances into goals, but this is what we’ll work on.”

On the match at hand, Okon knows there is no room for further excuses.

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“I think the team has rested now, and we will give it our best”

“It doesn’t matter if we watched Mamelodi Sundowns play or not, games change and we just only have to do our maximum efforts”.

His player, Maryann Ezenagu also knows there will be no excuse for another loss. “We don’t want to recall last match; every player can make mistakes. Every team is good, therefore they are all here with us”.

In spite of Nigerian excuses, South Africa’s coach remains focus. “The loss did not affect us, because we know our capabilities and what we can do. And we can win this game”.

Speaking further, Tshabalala remarked: “The game is probably the biggest game; we know Rivers Angels are strong, but we see an open way for three points”.

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“They will use space on the wings, they are a strong team, but we will fight to win the game”.

“We are happy they finally arrived; we cannot be deceived by their first match. They can play a very better football”.

“ASFAR played a very good game against Rivers Angels, their forward Sanaa Massoudy was very good. But our toughest game now is tomorrow, that’s what we need to focus on”.

 Mamelodi Sundowns Midfielder, Nonhlanhla Mthandi looks optimistically towards the clash with Rivers Angels.

“It was very important for us to win our first game. The coach told us to put all of our hearts in the games. We wanted to achieve a higher score, but it was a difficult game”.

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“We keep our ball down as we know they are very strong, so we’ll play our own football to beat them”.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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