PSL

Sundowns seek new heights, Kaizer Chiefs at lowest ebb in 51-year history

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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 02: Brian Onyango of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates goal  during the DStv Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on January 02, 2021 in Pretoria, South Africa.
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 02: Brian Onyango of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates goal during the DStv Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on January 02, 2021 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Sydney Mahlangu

Mamelodi Sundowns, whose emblem boasts "The Sky is the Limit", are chasing the unique record for any local professional soccer club of annexing four major League championships in successive years, while Kaizer Chiefs, whom they have replaced as top dogs in South African soccer, have currently sunk to the lowest level in their 51-year history.

Sundowns, of course, have already won three major League championships in successive years on two occasions - the last time in the past three PSL seasons - and share this record with SuperSport United, while an all-conquering Highlands Park, in the now defunct National Football League, emerged as League champions in the 1964, 1965 and 1966 seasons.

But now the silky-smooth Brazilians, as Sundowns are known, are perched ominously at the top of the DStv Premiership and already at this relatively early stage of the season looking as favourites to snap up another League championship and make the South African record of four successive League titles their own.

In contrast, Chiefs, with their millions of followers nationwide increasingly down in the dumps over Amakhosi failing to win a single title of any sort during the past five years, have been inflicted with further pangs of consternation as their beloved team has slumped to 14th position in the 16-team log table - only one place above the threatened relegation zone.

It needs little reminding that in 51 years Chiefs boast the proud record of never being relegated. Indeed Amakhosi have never finished a season lower than ninth in any League Championship - something they have done a mere three times.

Sundowns, meanwhile, have already overtaken the Chiefs' career League title record of 12 having reached 13 such titles with their latest triumph last year.

And as the fabled Br'er Rabbit proclaimed "What's up, Doc?", the cause of Chiefs' decline remains something of a mystery after the appointment of Gavin Hunt as coach for the new season, which initially provided hope of producing the right medicine for reclaiming a measure of the success of erstwhile years, having thus far backfired.

Chiefs' League record in the 14th-placed present season shows an unprecedented single victory from nine matches; a net seven points from a possible 27 and nine goals for and 15 against.

In the two-leg Top 8 tie, Chiefs were humbled and embarrassed 5-0 by fierce Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates.

"What's up, Doc?" indeed!

As for the ongoing success of Sundowns, it is due in no small measure to the seemingly limitless finance poured into the club by billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe.

But it is a fact that the Brazilians had already established a reputation for successful and cultured soccer before Motsepe took control. 

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Fixtures
Tue 02 Mar 21 15:00 PM (SAST)
Stellenbosch
Mamelodi Sundowns
Danie Craven Stadium
Tue 02 Mar 21 15:00 PM (SAST)
Tshakhuma FC
Kaizer Chiefs
Thohoyandou Stadium
Tue 02 Mar 21 17:00 PM (SAST)
Maritzburg United
Black Leopards
Harry Gwala Stadium
Results
Wed 24 Feb 21
SuperSport United 1
Orlando Pirates 1
Wed 24 Feb 21
TS Galaxy 1
Bloemfontein Celtic 0
Tue 23 Feb 21
Golden Arrows 1
Black Leopards 2
Logs
Team
P
W
PTS
1. Mamelodi Sundowns
16
10
36
2. SuperSport United
18
9
33
3. Swallows
16
7
30
4. Orlando Pirates
18
7
29