The Mares’ duo of Refilwe ‘Seven’ Tholakele and Kesegofetse ‘Odinga’ Mochawe will not be part of the 2022 CAF Women's Champions League finals after their new Equatorial Guinean side, Malabo Kings missed out.
The two joined Malabo in August after impressing at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) finals. Malabo retained the domestic league title with Tholakele and Mochawe making their debuts in the CAF Champions League regional qualifiers.
The team participated in the Central African Football Federations' Union (UNIFFAC) Champions League qualifiers held in Equatorial Guinea last week. Tholakele and Mochawe had to wait until the semi-finals of the competition as Malabo Kings were seeded by virtue of being the regional defending champions. However, their dream to play in the Champions League was shattered as their side was knocked out in the semi-finals.
The two local stars were in the starting line-up as their side took on AS AWA FC of Cameroon.
Playing in front of their local crowd Malabo Kings were behind early on into the tie before the team shipped in another goal before the break. It was 3-0 against Malabo Kings early in the second half as Tholakele and Mochawe’s side failed to turn things around.
The team lost 3-0 and missed out on a chance to make it to their second consecutive CAF Women’s Champions League finals to be played next month. Their Mares’ teammate Sedilame Bosija will play at the continental interclub showpiece for the first time. The tournament will be held in Morocco. Bosija remains the only local player with a Champions League medal as her side Mamelodi Sundowns won the title in 2021.
She, however, failed to make an appearance at the tournament due to an injury. Bosija was instrumental in Sundowns’ third-place finish at the COSAFA qualifiers. The team booked their place at the finals by virtue of being defending champions.