Sundowns will be challenged, sooner rather than later

Sundowns will be challenged, sooner rather than later
Mamelodi Sundowns players celebrates a victory during the 2024 Nedbank Cup Last 8 match between University of Pretoria and Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on 12 April 2024 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Thando Mpembe

Saturday Apr 13, 2024. 10:29

Mamelodi Sundowns have been a force to be reckoned with over the last decade in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). The Pretoria outfit has now won six league titles in a row, and they are on course to pick up their seventh.

At the moment, Rulani Mokwena’s team are 13 points clear at the top of the DStv Premiership, and they have two games in hand over second placed Stellenbosch FC.

On top of that, Sundowns are yet to lose a match in the domestic league this season and they could possibly win the “quadruple” if things go their way.

It really begs the question, who can really challenge the powerful team with a total of 34 trophies and counting?

The big three…

The teams in South African football that have the biggest fan bases are Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and of course Mamelodi Sundowns. And it makes sense why.

Even though the last time Kaizer Chiefs won a trophy was nine years ago, they are the PSL team that boasts the most trophies, with a total of 67 in their cabinet. With 13 league titles and 54 other pieces of silverware, it’ll take some time for another club to catch up.

Orlando Pirates have 39 trophies, and they have their own fair share of rich history. Unlike Chiefs, the Bucs won the double in 2022 with the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup, before winning the MTN8 once again in 2023.

There’s hope for the Soweto team to really start posing a threat to the Yellow team, especially with their second placed finish in the league last season.

Pirates coach Jose Riveiro recently expressed that competing with Masandawana is not easy, it’s going to take time.

“We finished last season with 54 points and you usually need 60 points to win the title in South Africa, but we are competing with a points machine, they don’t lose, it is difficult,” Riveiro said.

“We are trying but it is difficult to get close, for many reasons but we are getting there. I don’t know where we are going to finish this season but we are probably going to pass that number,” he added.

Everything’s not lost…

It might seem like there’s no team that can really get Sundowns shaking in their boots in Mzansi, but with the constant improvements in the PSL from other teams, not all hope is lost.

As aforementioned, Orlando Pirates have won three trophies over the last two years. And Stellenbosch won their first club competition, the Carling Knockout earlier this season.

It’s clear that there are other teams in the PSL who are fully capable of winning honours. Will it take time to go for the league?

If the last seven seasons are anything to go by, possibly. But that does not mean it won’t happen.

It’s just going to take a little more time to get there.

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