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Sundowns' Caf Champions League defeat could be bad news for Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates

1:37 AM MYT 25/04/2022
Mamelodi Sundowns players, March 2022
While the likes of SuperSport, Wits and CT have tried to disrupt the SA football hierarchy, the traditional big three remain Downs, Amakhosi and Bucs

Mamelodi Sundowns' relentless quest for continental success could serve to drive more space between them and the chasing pack which includes Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, the struggling Soweto giants.

The last 10 years have seen Sundowns pulling further and further away from their two main rivals, Chiefs and Pirates, much to the disappointment of supporters of the Soweto giants.

Ever since Patrice Motsepe took over Downs in 2004, the club has made it known their desire to establish themselves on the continent.

Not only have their coaches been backed in the transfer market to snatch the best local talent, but they have also gone to Europe and to South America to bolster their squad.

And such has been the depth of talent in the Sundowns squads over the past decade, that it has been possible for them to challenge both domestically and continentally.

And in assembling squads which can be genuinely counted amongst the best in Africa, the by-product for the Brazilians has been that they've blown the local PSL competition out of the water.

That includes Chiefs and Pirates, both currently enduring some of the worst times in their histories in terms of trophy droughts.

Sundowns' success in winning the 2016 Champions League has only fuelled an insatiable quest within the club to do it again, and to be given the opportunity to play at the Club World Cup and put the team on the international stage.

It's the mindset that most employees at Chloorkop have – thinking big, thinking globally.

And so now that the Pretoria club crashed out of this season's Champions League after losing to Petro de Luanda at the quarter-final stage, one can be assured that they'll already be thinking about how they can do better next season. Even more so when considering that this is the third straight year the Tshwane team has fallen in the Champions League last eight.

Looking to better that record, Downs management will be thinking about how they can improve, which players need to be released, and where the squad can be made stronger. How their structures can be fine-tuned. All of that could potentially further increase the gap in quality between Masandawana and their two old Soweto foes.

We've seen in recent seasons too how Sundowns have managed to dominate the PSL transfer market, seemingly having first pick and also having the budget to match their ambition, while curtailing Bucs and Amakhosi's options to improve their squads.

It would appear that nothing can stop the Sundowns machine and this season’s disappointment in Africa won't knock their confidence - it will only spur them on to push even harder for success. Already so dominant in the PSL, it’s tough to see any club breaking Sundowns’ dominance any time soon.