THE much-awaited Eastern Cape SA Football Association’s Sasol League Stream A season will get under way next weekend.
Two teams from Nelson Mandela Bay, defending champions City Lads and Manchester Babes Ladies of Uitenhage, will compete for the provincial women’s crown. Both teams have started with their provincial championship campaign preparations and have recruited new young players to beef up their squads.
New Brighton team Lads are the defending champions of the prestigious title after they won Stream A and defeated Stream B winners Coastal United to reach the national finals of the top SA women’s tournament, while Babes Ladies ended their league campaign in third position last season.
The home side were knocked out of the national tournament in the group stage but they have won the provincial championship title twice.
Lads owner Nomalungelo Mooi said the team were playing some friendly games to gauge the players’ state of readiness. “We’ve used our long league break training very hard and we also played a mini tournament with our league opponents.
“We will also bring women’s teams from other provinces to keep our players fit for the upcoming season.”
Mooi said they had also acquired the service of five new young and exciting players to strengthen the team, but the goalkeeping department was still a challenge.
“We want to put Nelson Mandela Bay on the map when the national women’s soccer league is established. The Eastern Cape teams are still struggling in the national championship because they are not prepared to meet the challenge.”
Babes coach Sandile Kononosa said the team had started with their training sessions and they recently travelled to East London for a friendly match against Stream A league’s second-placed finishers Birmingham City.
“We’ve recruited one player so far to strengthen our right back position but overall we will use the same team we used last season.”