was a time when Mamelodi Sundowns seemed invincible.
were a juggernaut that mowed everything that stood in their way.
only did they win the Absa Premiership title in a canter, but went on to conquer
Africa by becoming the African Champions League kings before adding the African
Super Cup by defeating giants TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo who
had won the CAF Confederation Cup.
A month ago everyone was prepared to bet their last Rand that ’Downs
would again easily defend their league title.
They had a sizeable number
of games in hand and were continuing to destroy everything that stood in their
all that has changed.
1-0 loss to Golden Arrows in the Nedbank Cup this past weekend marked their
sixth game without a win.
of a possible 15 points from five outstanding matches, they only managed to
collect three points from three draws with the other two matches ending in
has seen their chances of winning the league diminish. Mark my words, not
disappear, but get slimmer. That five-game winless league run also included a
2-1 loss to arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs who are still within a touching distance
of the championship.
they can get back to winning ways soon, their chances of retaining the title
they won so easily last season will be gone.
it doesn’t get easier going forward.
have tough back-to-back Tshwane derby matches against SuperSport United who are
also still in the running for the league title.
meet them this Thursday and again next week (April 19).
The fixtures are not easy for other
contenders as well.
next week, Bidvest Wits who are perched at the top following a resounding 3-0
victory over a hapless Golden Arrows, meet Cape Town City in
misfiring on the pitch seems to be rubbing coach Pitso Mosimane up the wrong
statements such as “football can be humbling”, that were becoming a mantra in
his post-match interviews, he has gone back to his old sulky self, blaming
everyone but himself for losses.
two occasions, against Chiefs and Arrows, he has been entangled in ugly
post-match scenes - much as it has to be pointed out that on both, he was the
provoked party - but he needs to know that people will always take advantage of
his short fuse.
has proved to be one of the best tacticians at club level on the continent,
proof of which is the CAF Champions League title and the CAF Super Cup trophy
that decorate the club’s Chloorkop offices.
Instead of allowing himself to get involved in unnecessary skirmishes with
individuals who are not even his coaching peers, he should focus on getting
Sundowns back on track.
the other hand, Wits coach Gavin Hunt seems to have mastered the art of diplomacy and
army-tactic-like decoy by mentioning the other clubs as the main contenders at
every given opportunity while quietly collecting the necessary and crucial
as the season draws closer to its conclusion, expect a lot of scintillating football
- as well as a lot of quiet diplomacy from the coaches.
S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading
sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of
the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently
City Press Sports Editor.
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