Image copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Well, it would be much easier to enjoy life right now if you are a fan of Mamelodi Sundowns. At the moment, Masandawana have rampaged their way to a 21-point haul after nine matches, winning six times, with hopes of ‘Invincibility’ not so far-fetched after their recent victory over Orlando Pirates.
Sundowns have overcome every single hurdle presented to them this season, from having to deal with Anele Ngcongca and Motjeka Madisha’s passing to fielding a team against Orlando Pirates with a number of absentees through COVID-19. They’ve simply been through it all and more.
The signs are evident that Mamelodi Sundowns are well-clear of any team in the league this season. Not only have they started brightly, but they’ve shown over the years that they’ve got the legs and the experience to keep within touch right until the very end.
Sadly, the Yellow Nation will not be able to see their beloved football club lift their 11th league title with the country still likely to be in lockdown in May – so I assume.
And yes, I’m talking about lifting league titles in January. I’m foolish enough to realize that this could backfire horribly, but I’m wise enough to see the reality that Sundowns are about to make the DStv Premiership a farmers league and lift their fourth successive league trophy right before our very own eyes.
What’s been the most fascinating part about Sundowns’ early start is that even though this was a Pitso Mosimane-inherited team, it looks nothing like the club that played under ‘Jingles’ last season with Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena co-coaching their way to new heights for Masandawana.
Neutrals wanted them to run their own race, and now they’re making a mockery of Africa’s greatest league.
With Steve Komphela’s experience coming in handy as their assistant, Sundowns could even raise their hands for another CAF Champions League triumph and repeat the feat achieved by the club in 2016.
Gaston Sirino hasn’t kicked a ball all season, while Themba Zwane, who has been the club’s best player this term, missed out on Sundowns’ fixture with Pirates, yet it was still so comfortable for the champions, who ended a five-game winless run over the Buccaneers this past weekend.
Tactically, Sundowns are also, dare I say it, better than last season. Their ability to interchange between a back three and a back four provides plenty of cover for Denis Onyango, while it also helps to create a numerical advantage when playing against teams who try to catch Downs on the counter.
Heck, they’ve even got Brian Onyango looking like a footballer.
Their depth is unquestionable with Downs showing on a number of occasions that they can play with just about any player missing and still get the job done.
Presently, their tried and tested front trio of Zwane, Kermit Erasmus and Peter Shalulile look to be the best the league has seen for a long, long time, leaving arguably the league’s best player in Sirino fighting for a place in the line-up.
Sundowns are not personnel-driven. They have a clear identity, making it easier for any player to just come in and gel within the squad and fit straight into the system.
Something extremely worrying for the likes of Orlando Pirates, and even Swallows, who have punched above their weight to the point where they breathe the same air as Sundowns at the top of the standings.
Even SuperSport United, who have murmured about a title challenge this season are surely looking at their Tshwane rivals and thinking about different aspirations as the campaign goes on.
Its worrying, yet so exciting.
This chapter of football in South African history will definitely go down as the Mamelodi Sundowns era. It’s been years since the club have gone a year without winning a trophy and you can certainly bet on them to add to their glorious trophy cabinet with the first-ever DStv Premiership title.