- Mamelodi Sundowns lead the DStv Premiership log by a single point with second place AmaZulu breathing down their necks.
- Masandawana next travel to Soweto for a mammoth league encounter against Orlando Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
- Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena says every championship team experiences hardships during a season.
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokwena says the players "know what is at stake" with second place AmaZulu hot on their tails in the DStv Premiership title race.
Masandawana suffered a disappointing 0-0 draw on Wednesday to Golden Arrows, which allowed Usuthu to close the gap to just one point after claiming a 5-1 with at Cape Town City.
Since he arrived at the club in mid-December, Benni McCarthy has led AmaZulu from fighting relegation to vying for the title.
In Sundowns' favour is the fact that they have two games in hand due to their CAF Champions League commitments - they've played just 23 matches while AmaZulu have played 25.
Masandawana are experiencing a 'mini-slump' as they have only won two of their last five league matches and now prepare for a mammoth encounter against rivals Orlando Pirates on Sunday.
Meanwhile, AmaZulu face off against their crosstown rivals Golden Arrows in a Durban derby clash 24-hours prior, and McCarthy's side could dethrone Sundowns before their match against the Buccaneers.
Speaking to the media on Thursday morning, Mokwena remained optimistic of their title chances but recognised the difficulty to pull it off with Champions League matches included in their schedule.
"We're at the business end of the season. We know what is at stake. We are in a very difficult block, which is the fifth block in our process, with regards to how we divide our matches," Mokwena said.
"This block of five games we knew was always going to be very difficult, but the good thing is that we've done the hard part," Mokwena said.
"We are still okay, and we believe we're okay... we've got enough experience in the team. Mamelodi Sundowns have been here before; the players have the right amount of experience to deal with this hardship."
Mokwena said all championship teams go through a slump in their season but expected his charges to get back to winning ways.
"We knew this was going to happen. This happens to everybody; Man City went through difficult moments, in fact, they went through a difficult moment in the middle of the season and then they got a little bit of momentum.
"Liverpool [the] same, Real Madrid same, Barcelona same. So, it happens, there's no perfect season, and we would be very naïve to think that we sit in a position when we're 21 games unbeaten in the domestic league to think that we'll have a perfect season.
"The difficulties that come along only prepare us to try to navigate our way through and get to the finish line as successful as possible because that is the responsibility we have as Mamelodi Sundowns," he said.
Sundowns' match against the Buccaneers is scheduled take place on Sunday at Orlando Stadium.
Kick-off is at 15:00.