Catch us if you can - Sundowns

Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Pitso Mosimane didn't hold back about his bitterness at losing the league title to bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs last season.

Unlike many people, he did not sulk or walk away with his tail between his legs like a dog that has been bitterly embarrassed by losing a bone, but went away and started strategising for the upcoming season.

And look at him now!

He assembled a great squad, had a well-planned pre-season and is applying that strategy to his club's benefit.

In the process - to steal from another sporting code - Sundowns are showing the other 15 Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs a clean pair of heels.

What has been more impressive with Sundowns this season is that they have overcome one of South African football's greatest Achilles heels.

That of leaving their fate in other clubs' hands, more especially on the international front. How many times have we had to whip out calculators and work out permutations when our sides are involved in international competitions?

But not Sundowns.

Just this past weekend they went out to Pietermaritzburg and grabbed all three points via an impressive 3-0 victory over Maritzburg United.

The win left the chasing pack - Bidvest Wits, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Kaizer Chiefs - eating their dust.

Chiefs and the struggling Orlando Pirates also did themselves a disservice by playing to a 1-all draw in the highly anticipated Soweto Derby, meaning they both dropped two points.  

Despite being fourth on the log, Amakhosi have lost quite some ground in their quest to defend the title they won last season given that they now trail The Brazilians by 10 points.

What's amazing - and must be ultra-frustrating to those who swear by the gold and black of Naturena - is the fact that Chiefs have almost the same squad that was utilised by Stuart Baxter in annexing the league and the MTN8 Cup last season, save for a few additions.

The players that Chiefs signed such as Edward Manqele, Bongani Ndulula and Camaldine Abraw have hardly come to the party.

The only player who has shown some purpose is the recently signed William Twala who has shined in the handful of matches he has played so far.

For the other players, it has been disappointing.

Some fans have even called for the aging team to be overhauled, an exercise that Sundowns did a short while ago.

Chiefs and Pirates redeemed themselves a bit by scoring a 2-0 victory over Golden Arrows and a 2-1 win over Ajax Cape Town, respectively, but still this was like water over a duck's back as Sundowns also continued with their winning ways.

They were clinical and highly impressive in their demolition of Chippa United, playing like real champions-elect at their home, the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

On the other hand, Chiefs did not look like defending champions despite their 2-0 victory over Arrows, while Pirates hung on for dear life and were saved by the woodwork from the marauding Ajax getting an equaliser.

So the jury is still out on Chiefs and Pirates coaches Steve Komphela and Eric Tinkler.

To be honest, they have not covered themselves in glory, save for Tinkler's impressive run in the CAF Confederation Cup where his side only faltered in the final, losing to SF Sfaxien.

Again, Chiefs and Pirates will be in the spotlight this coming weekend as there is a full round of fixtures with Chiefs hosting Maritzburg, Pirates visiting AmaTuks (both on Saturday) and Sundowns away to the hot and cold Free State Stars on Sunday.

Some eyes will be on surprise package Black Aces who find themselves chasing for the league title as well as Bidvest Wits who are thriving under the astute tutelage of Gavin Hunt who is chasing his fourth championship title.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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