S'Busiso Mseleku

All hail Mamelodi Sundowns! Now for Africa...

2016-05-06 13:33
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

When Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said at the end of last season "I know where the trophy is. I want to get it back", many took it as sour grapes and an empty threat.

The mega-rich Brazilians had just been beaten to the title by a Stuart Baxter-led Kaizer Chiefs.

Fast forward to Wednesday (May 4, 2016) night, and Mosimane has earned the right to repeat a line made famous by Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith played by George Peppard in the 1980s series 'The A-Team' "I love it when a plan comes together."

Not only did Mosimane threaten to get the trophy back, but went back to the proverbial drawing board, plotted, got his troops ready and led them to a sleek 2015/16 campaign.

Not that there were no bumps along the way, just as when supporters bayed for his blood and demanded that he be fired after the club had gone down to Lamontville Golden Arrows.

But Mosimane and the players remained focused on the prize at the end of the rainbow, and as it is common in life, all shared in the unbridled joy that ensued after 'Downs had downed neighbours University of Pretoria 3-0 to claim the title.

In their wake, Sundowns left the likes of closest challengers, Bidvest Wits - who will have to form a guard of honour when the two sides meet in the ultimate league match at Bidvest Stadium - Kaizer Chiefs, Platinum Stars, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Orlando Pirates eating dust.

Under the tutelage of Gavin Hunt, Wits kept the chase until at least the last three games where their party was spoilt by some unsavoury results including a 2-all draw against Aces who equalised in injury time.

There are some lessons for giants like Chiefs and Pirates as well as the entire SA football fraternity to be learnt from how Sundowns went about their business this season.

The first and most important lesson, is that you should never leave your fate into other people's (or in this case, clubs) hands. You learn to take your fate into your own hands. That's a major recipe for success.

Another lesson is that consistency is, just like perseverance, a very important ingredient.

Chiefs are a sorry sight this season, giving up their title very meekly. Playing to 12 draws is surely a recipe for disaster for a club as big as Amakhosi. To add insult to injury, the club also lost out in two cup finals - the MTN8 Cup which they were defending and the Telkom Knockout Cup - and were bundled out in the Last 32 of the Nedbank Cup by Pirates.

Pirates' supporters will claim that their good run on the continent, that ended in the CAF Confederation Cup final, was the distraction from focusing on the league. But this coming season, they must buckle up and mount a better challenge for domestic honours.

For the likes of Wits, Aces and Platinum Stars, it is back to the drawing board.

Hunt will surely be under more pressure from highly driven club chairperson Brian Joffe who would surely like to have some silverware to show. Joffe is a successful businessman and one suspects he would like to see this rubbing off on his latest acquisition.

Mosimane's main challenge now would be to bring the Champions League title to Chloorkop.

Club boss, Patrice Motsepe, has long said that success in Africa is his main goal.

So often conquerors of the domestic scene, it is now time for Africa for The Sky is the Limit!

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 well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    mamelodi sundowns  |  psl  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer


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The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

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