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Are Mamelodi Sundowns opening the door for Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs revival?

15:38 EAT 03/09/2022
Kaizer Chiefs celebrate August 2022 Sithebe Solomons Billiat
Masandawana suffered a setback in the league on Friday night when they lost 2-1 to SuperSport United in the Tshwane derby

As both Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs try climb their way back up the SA soccer ladder, Mamelodi Sundowns' recent slip-ups should offer them a glimmer of hope.

It's of course early days yet - about 20% of the league marathon has been run.

But now having suffered two defeats and drawn one of their opening six league matches, there are suggestions of some vulnerability in the Sundowns side and their collective confidence and self-belief is not as it usually is.

By comparison, Sundowns only lost two league matches in the entire 2021/ 22 season, and just one the season before that.

So them losing two of their opening six matches is not something we've become accustomed to in the PSL.

At the top levels in sport, fine margins can be decisive, and that includes the mental edge a group of players gets from winning week-in, week-out. Small doubts may start to creep in, and another couple of poor results, and we might see the momentum swaying in SA football.

Problems of their own?

However, if Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates (current log leaders) want to harbour realistic ambitions of ending an eight and nine-year wait respectively for a league title, they need to galvanize themselves quickly.

While Bucs can extend their lead at the top when they play Maritzburg United on Sunday, they've not yet been firing on all cylinders in attack and have also had injury problems, while the jury is still out on their new signings.

Amakhosi have shown signs of revitalization and have made some good player acquisitions, but they remain inconsistent.

However, if either one of Chiefs or Pirates can start stringing some wins together, and Sundowns drop a few more points, things could start to get interesting.

Of course, Masandawana could come storming back to life and they certainly have the squad to do so.

With such a quality-packed squad though one does have to wonder if certain individuals are okay about not getting much action - and how that may affect the dynamic of the team, especially in the context of results not going the Pretoria side's way.

The next few weeks could be pivotal for Downs; not only do they have the league to worry about, but also the distraction of the Caf Champions League, as well as an MTN8 two-legged semi-final with Pirates. If Bucs could win that, they could really set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Chiefs and Pirates meanwhile don't have the excursions of African football to worry about after finishing fifth and sixth respectively last term.

Next in the domestic league for Masandawana are Chippa United, Golden Arrows and AmaZulu.