BY SPORTS REPORTER
ZIMBABWE’S Black Rhinos Queens missed out on a place at the Caf Women’s Champions League as they lost 3-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in the final of the Cosafa qualifier in Durban.
Black Rhinos Queens went into the final with high hopes after their fairytale run in the regional competition despite having not played any competitive football since 2019.
The Zimbabwean club had booked their spot to the final on Thursday courtesy of a 2-0 win over Double Action from Botswana.
Their brilliant run finally came to an end in the final after losing to a well-oiled Sundowns side who were the dominant team from start to finish but found a stubborn defence from the Zimbabwean team.
The jubilant Sundowns side not only claim bragging rights in the region and a trophy, but also book their ticket to the CAF Women’s Champions League that is scheduled for Egypt later in the year.
They scored 22 goals in their five games, and conceded just once, showing their dominance in the competition, and earning the title of worthy winners.
Sundowns took the lead in the 12th minute, after a swift attack following a defensive slip, Lerato Kgasago finishing off the move neatly after a good square ball from Andisiwe Mgcoyi, with her first time shot beating Rhino’s goalkeeper Precious Mudyiwa.
While Sundowns continued to threaten, Rhinos’ had a few chances too, but those were limited to long range efforts. Kgasago’s goal gave Sundowns a narrows 1-0 lead at the break.
It was much of the same in the second half, as Masandawana threatened, but the narrow scoreline kept Black Rhinos in it.
That is until the 78th minute when Sundowns finally added to their tally, as Nonhlanhla Mthandi’s hard running paid off, as she race to beat Mudyiwa to a ball just outside the box, and the bounce went her way, and she was able to finish into an empty net.
Boitumelo Rabale wrapped the result up in stoppage time, with a fantastic strike from just inside the box.
It was a dominant and deserved qualification for the South African champions, who showed they were far and away the best team in the Cosafa region.
They advance to the eight team final tournament that will be held in Egypt later this year.
Despite Black Rhinos’ Queens’ elimination in the final, their star striker Rutendo Makore was named the Player of the Tournament, with the Golden Glove for best goalkeeper going to her teammate Precious Mudyiwa.
Sundowns’ Kgadiete won the Golden Boot for her five goals in the tournament.
The match was watched by Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Patrice Motsepe, who is a former owner of the Sundowns club, as well as a delegation from Fifa that included secretary-general Fatma Samoura and chief women’s football officer Sarai Bareman.