Basking in CAF Champions League glory with Mamelodi Sundowns’ Women’s Team
The Mamelodi Sundowns FC’s senior women’s team became the winners of the first-ever CAF Women’s Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Ghanaian side Hasaacas Ladies. With the help of Thabang Temo, a University of Johannesburg (UJ) physiotherapist, the Sundowns ladies lifted the trophy in Cairo, Egypt on Friday, 19 November 2021.
The team was recently honoured for its tenacious efforts in making history for South Africa on 25 January 2022 at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton. Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, organized a Minister’s Recognition of Excellence in Sport dinner for everyone who was part of the team.
“I feel honored and privileged to be part of this group. We have worked tirelessly ‘behind the scenes’ as staff to ensure that the team succeeds. Such moments are cherished for a lifetime. I am indeed thankful. I know a lot is yet to come in my career,” says Temo.
Temo joined Mamelodi Sundowns in June 2017 as a youth academy physiotherapist. He has been part of the UJ Sport Medicine and Rehabilitation Department since June 2019. His passion for sports medicine has seen him excel in professional local and national team setups.
His experience in the CAF Women’s Champions League has aided him to prepare for future international duties in national teams. “It was such a phenomenal experience for me as an individual and a professional. Having many games in such a short space of time and being able to play with no injuries was magical, thanks to the technical team efforts to ensure that the players are ready for each game.
“The championship means a lot to me – I am an international cup winner. I still can’t believe that I have a gold medal from such a big tournament, I’m a champion, it’s a dream come true,” he says, explaining his experience.
“I’ve always been passionate about sports during varsity days. I was inspired by the likes of Mr. Bafana Sihlali, Supersport United Football Club’s physiotherapist. He was my lecturer at the University of Pretoria.
“It’s a challenging field. We are responsible for ensuring that players recover quickly and in time to play critical matches. It is always rewarding to see an injured player undergo a medical procedure and seeing them returning to play as if nothing happened, I sleep peacefully,” he says.
“It may look easy. You need to be passionate about being a physiotherapist first then being passionate about dealing with sports injuries. It looks lavish outside but there is so much pressure and hardships that we go through working in institutions like UJ and Sundowns. This job is demanding. For those who wish to gain experience in this field should join local clubs in their spare time to learn and build confidence in providing therapy services,” says Temo.