Mbeleck, Sumaila and Sunday help Maccabi Kiryat Gat to maiden Athena Cup title

The African trio were in impressive form as their Israeli top-flight club subdued their rivals to claim the first domestic competition

Genevieve Mbeleck, Sherifatu Sumaila and Uchechi Sunday made history with Maccabi Kiryat Gat as their side won the first-ever Israeli Athena Cup title, after Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Ramat Hasharon.

Cameroon’s Mbeleck, Ghana’s Sumaila and Nigeria’s Sunday joined the Israeli side last October and have been in fine form this season.

To feature in the final, Kiryat Gat earned a spot as last season’s Ligat Al runners-up, while Ramat Hasharon were Israeli champions.

Going into the encounter, Kiryat Gat were enjoying a six-point lead at the top of the Israeli log with 33 points, while holders Hasharon were fifth with just 21 from 13 matches this season.

After back-to-back wins in 2021, Eyal Sade’s team were eyeing their third triumph against the Israeli top-flight reigning champions.

Both sides could not be separated in the course of the tightly contested encounter until Brazilian Ana Bruniera Arruda Caroline broke the deadlock on the hour mark for Sade’s side.

The Ligat Al leaders held on to their narrow lead until Jenny Balak guaranteed her side’s victory with her strike four minutes before the end of regulation time at the Ramat Gan Stadium.

Mbeleck, Sumaila and Sunday produced fine performances as they celebrated their first silverware in the colours of Kiryat Gat, after winning the first-ever Athena Cup.

Heading into the international break, Mbeleck will be hoping to inspire the Indomitable Lionesses to an Olympic Games return when they take on Chile in a two-legged intercontinental tie in Turkey.

With five games left to go, the African trio will be keen to continue their fine campaign when they visit Hapoel Be’er Sheva on April 17.


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