Thinasonke Mbuli's charges travelled to Gelvandale Stadium in Gqeberha to face City Lads Ladies. The newly-promoted side were no pushover for a largely familiar UWC team, who only started Lonathemba Mhlongo (centreback) and Ntombifikile Ndlovu (striker) of their 11 new signings.
It seemed that 'normal' service would resume when free-scoring Banyana Banyana forward Sibulele Holweni handed UWC the lead on the half-hour mark. Then, just as City Lads thought they would only face a single-goal half-time deficit, Sinegugu Zondi doubled the lead in the referee's optional time.
The second half was a different affair for UDubs, not least when Siphosethu Nojoko pulled a goal back 71 minutes into the clash.
However, the team held on until the final whistle. In doing so they opened the season with a win for the first time in the fledgling SAFA National Women's League era - even if the performance was not to coach Mbuli's satisfaction.
WATCH COACH MBULI'S POST-MATCH SUMMARY
UWC Ladies 2022 squadGoalkeepers: Robyn Coetzee (UCT – Sasol League Western Cape), Siphesihle Dlamini (Diepkloof Ladies – Sasol League Gauteng), Regirl Ngobeni
Defenders: Bongeka Gamede - captain, Lindokuhle Gladile (RV United – Sasol League Western Cape), Fikile Magama, Antonia Maponya, Simnikiwe Mhlakaza, Lonathemba Mhlongo (Durban Ladies – Hollywoodbets Super League), Zikhona Nogqala, Keylon Pietersen, Unathi Simayile (RV United – Sasol League Western Cape), Sinegugu Zondi - co-vice-captain
Midfielders: Katlego Mabuza (UJ – Hollywoodbets Super League), Nelly Mamabolo, Khanyisa Manengela, Akholiwe Matsotsi (RV United – Sasol League Western Cape), Babalwa Mngxunya, Amogelang Motau - co-vice-captain, Leandra Smeda
Forwards: Noxolo Cesane, Sduduzo Dlamini, Abongile Dlani, Sibulele Holweni, Molatelo Kobo, Tiffany Kortjie, Oyisa Marhasi (Eluhewini Ladies – Sasol League Eastern Cape), Philisa Mjambane (Thunderbirds Ladies – Hollywoodbets Super League), Ntombifikile Ndlovu (Sunflower Women – Sasol League KwaZulu-Natal), Khanya Xesi
UWC Ladies 2022 staffHead coach: Thinasonke Mbuli
Assistant coach: Leah Masango
Goalkeeper coach: Vulindlela Biko
Technical analyst: Wayne Hendricks
Team manager: Wendy Nomatse
Doctor: Dr Ntokozo Mabena
Physiotherapist: Kayla Richards
General manager: Elmien Cloete
Compliance officer: Amanda Nkopho
Media officer: Skhu Nkomphela
Images courtesy Skhu Nkomphela/UWC Sport