Mali’s AS Mande secured the first spot in Africa’s premier women’s club competition; CAF Women’s Champions League, Cote d’Ivoire 2023 that is scheduled for between 05 – 19 November this year.
The Mandekas, as the Malian side is popularly known, secured their ticket to Cote d’Ivoire after winning the CAF Champions League WAFU Zone A Qualifiers played in Liberia where they had to fend off stiff competition against hosts, Determine Girls, Dakar Sacre Coeur of Senegal as well as Sierra Leone’s Mogwemo Queens in a round robin structured qualifier played between 05 – 13 August.
The hard-fought achievement by Mande sees them return to Africa’s top-flight women’s club competition, having made an appearance at the inaugural edition in 2021, where they finished bottom of Group A in a pool that consisted of the eventual runner-up Hasaacas Ladies of Ghana, who lost 2-0 against Mamelodi Sundowns in the final.
Having missed last year’s edition in Rabat, the West Africans will be determined to return to the competition a much stronger and competitive side when they take on Africa’s best women’s football clubs in Cote d’Ivoire.
Coach Moustaph Laïcou Traoré will be relying on the continental experience of star striker, Awa Traore, who is familiar with the CAF Women’s Champions League, having found the club’s first-ever goal in the competition when they lost 3-1 to Egypt’s Wadi Degla.
Competition in Cote d’Ivoire is set to be at an all-time high in November, following CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe’s announcement last year that the prize money will be increased to USD 400 000 for the winners – a significant step in CAF’s ongoing efforts of growing the women’s game on the continent.
Credit: CAF Communications