When Mamelodi Sundowns claimed their 10th league title under Pitso Mosimane two seasons ago, one supporter at Loftus Versfeld held up a placard that read, “please stop the carnage”, referring to Masandawana’s unparalleled dominance.
That particular supporter was clad in Kaizer Chiefs regalia and was seemingly pleading to his team, or anyone else, to put an end to Sundowns rule.
You get the sense that this is most football lovers’ wish – to see a shift in dominance as far as South African football is concerned. And I cannot help but lean towards that sentient.
Sundowns are a great team and having covered their rise to the top for the past couple of years, it does get tiring to see the same team lifting trophies while others get leftovers.
All eyes on Riviero and Zwane
It is almost a given that the Brazilians will win the DStv Premiership even before the season starts, pretty much like how the African National Congress is seen as the one party that will continue to rule the country regardless of their shenanigans.
Amakhosi and Orlando Pirates are the two teams that have the financial capacity to challenge Downs as far as the transfer market is concerned.
Not only that, but they have the experience of winning championships and they need to come to the party or else the league will be reduced to a one-team show, as it has been for the last five seasons. In fact, Downs have won the league seven times over the last decade, with the Glamour Boys and Bidvest Wits being the only sides who managed to wrestle them off the title.
Can Hunt disrupt Sundowns’ dominance again?
But apart from the Soweto giants, who else can really challenge Sundowns? Maybe one could look towards a team like SuperSport United, who started on a flat foot but managed to find their groove this season. United are trailing their Pretoria rivals by seven points and are among the two sides that managed to steal maximum points from Bafana Ba Style.
Matsatsantsa A Pitori head coach Gavin Hunt has a blueprint for winning the league having done it three times on the spin with SuperSport and claimed it with the now defunct Students. There is a sense of belief in the United camp that Hunt can lead them to league glory, but of course, Sundowns won’t go down without a fight.
Hunt has set-up a decent structure in his team, even though he is operating with a number of relatively inexperienced youngsters, they show courage and glimpses of a possible threat to Sundowns’ rule.
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A league is perhaps the most competitive format in football as all teams play each other twice, but for Downs, it has been somewhat of a breeze and someone, somehow, needs to put an end to this. The Premier Soccer League is slowly turning into what the German Bundesliga and French League 1 are where Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain are dominating without much disruption.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Sundowns. But, it would be exciting if another team were to stand on the winners’ podium at the end of the season. And of course, this would strengthen the competition in the league.