Latest news Live Scores

Is this the best ever Mamelodi Sundowns side and can they set more records?

9:01 PM MYT 13/04/2022
Mamelodi Sundowns celebrate Gaston Sirino Lebohang Maboe Thapelo Morena
The current MTN8 champions and runaway domestic league leaders are also chasing the Caf Champions League title and the Nedbank Cup

The juggernaut which is Mamelodi Sundowns is looking well placed to win at least three, if not four trophies this season.

As the season hits the business end, Downs are scoring goals for fun and they’ve netted 29 in the last seven outings and are able to win at a canter even when using a second or almost third-string team at times.

Records to be broken

Sundowns’ biggest remaining challenge this term is in the Champions League. If they can win it, Downs will become the first South African club to lift the continental trophy twice.

Domestically, they already hold the record for most league titles in the PSL era (11) as well as the most consecutive titles – it’s likely that will be extended to five next month.

Already having just about wrapped up the league title, Sundowns can even afford to rest players to ensure they are fresh for the Champions League.

In the Nedbank Cup, they face Royal AM in the semis and either Marumo Gallants or second tier side TTM in the final. The chances of winning the tournament are good.

And, of course, should Sundowns win the quadruple, they’ll become the first PSL club to do that.

Not dependent on Shalulile

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke recently about being happy to have to depend on one player, Karim Benzema, for goals.

But while Peter Shalulile is Sundowns’ main goal threat, he has been excellently supported by a bunch of his teammates – whenever fellow strikers such as Kermit Erasmus and Pavol Safranko get a chance to play, they tend to score.

There has also been outstanding support from attacking midfielders Themba Zwane, Neo Maema, Lesedi Kapinga, Bradley Ralani and Gaston Sirino.

So if a team tries to shut out Shalulile and pays too much attention to the Namibian, it’s likely they’ll be punished by one of the above-mentioned players.

Depth management

Even injuries to the likes of Sirino, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Lebogang Maboe and more recently, new signing Erwin Saavedra, have not derailed Downs in any way.

Then there’s the likes of George Maluleka, Siphelele Mkhulise and Thabiso Kutumela who can barely get a game, while new signings Teboho Mokoena and Ralani are just getting started.

Credit must go to Sundowns’ management that they have been able to keep such a big squad happy and have been able to give most players some decent game-time.

The coaching trio of Manqoba Mngqithi, Rhulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela seem to be working perfectly together and have formed a synergy that is helping take the club to new levels.

Off the field, Tlhopie Motsepe, the son of club owner Patrice Motsepe, has also made a positive impact.

Downs have ticked just about every box and appear set for a lengthy spell of dominance; bad news for the likes of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

Better than the class of 2016?

The likes of Anthony Laffor, Percy Tau, Hlompho Kekana, Wayne Arendse, Keagan Dolly and Khama Billiat are no longer with Sundowns.

This season’s Masandawana outfit has already beaten Al Ahly twice in the group phase and must be strong favourites in the Champions League.

It should also be noted that in 2016, the Brazilians had actually been eliminated in the preliminary rounds but were reinstated in the competition after DR Congo side Vita Club were disqualified. This time they’ve needed no such favours.

If they can go all the way in Africa and complete the quadruple, there will be a strong case to be made that the current bunch are even better than Pitso Mosimane’s team of 2016, also taking into account that the team of six years back had a number of players nearing the ends of their careers, while the 2022 side are a young, vibrant squad.