Eswatini side Young Buffaloes come into the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League | COSAFA Qualifier on the back of some incredible form on the domestic front that they hope will be the spur for qualification to the continental finals.
Young Buffaloes have played 24 games in this year’s domestic campaign and won all of them, scoring 221 goals and not conceding any!
It is a quite remarkable run as they debut in the COSAFA Women’s Champions League, where they have been drawn in Group B with powerful Zambian side Green Buffaloes and Olympique de Moroni from Comoros.
Young Buffaloes are coached by former national team striker Fisiwe Hlophe, who still holds the record for the most goals in a single season back home, with 86.
Her philosophy is to attack and that is borne out in the results of her team this season.
“I always train my players to go forward and try to score,” she says. “Our game is about attack and playing good football. That is how I like my side to play and we will do that at the tournament [in Durban] too.”
Hlophe says preparations for the COSAFA Women’s Champions League have been going well, and she is pleased with where her side is at ahead of Sunday’s opener against Green Buffaloes at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium (kick-off 15h30 CAT).
“All of my players are available and putting in maximum effort,” she says. “We are geared up for the tournament.
“It’s a tricky draw, we have seen maybe six or seven players from Green Buffaloes in the Zambia national team [at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations], but we don’t know the teams that well.
“We can obviously study Green Buffaloes from last year [in Durban] but they could have a new team, so you cannot count on that. So that makes it difficult.
“It is just for us to go there and fight, to play to best and play to our system.”
Young Buffaloes also have a number of players in the Eswatini national team that has competed at past COSAFA events, which will hold them in good stead.
“I have about seven players who were in the national team, so them having gone to the COSAFA Women’s Championship will help us a lot because they will know a little about the level.”
Young Buffaloes’ second match in Group B will be against Olympique de Moroni on August 11 (15h30 CAT).
The top club in each of the two pools will contest the final at the COSAFA Women’s Champions League, where the victor will earn a place at the 2022
TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League finals that are scheduled for Morocco later in the year.
The runners-up in the pools will contest for the bronze medal in Durban, which would be some consolation for not reaching the decider.