Sundowns now look to bag the treble.
JOHANNESBURG – Mamelodi Sundowns’ sweat and never-say-die attitude – even when it appeared that the Premiership crown was out of reach – has paid acres in dividends at the end as they bagged a record-extending tenth league title.
It was an unusual start to the day for Sundowns as their fate in the title race on the final day of the season was out of their hands, which was a foreign concept to South African football’s most dominant club.
But coach Pitso Mosimane, a winner at heart and on the pitch, cut a calm approach in his pre-match interview, saying: “We are going for a kill.” Well, the doctor got what he ordered as his troops put Black Leopards to the sword thanks to a Lebohang Maboe hat-trick.
But it didn’t take just Sundowns’ efforts to wrap up the title though. Kaizer Chiefs bottled up a year-long lonely lead at the top on the climax of the season following a 1-1 draw with Baroka FC at Bidvest Stadium, despite taking the lead.
Sundowns, however, as they ended at the pinnacle of South African football for the third time in a row, won’t need anyone to thank for their hard work and resilience.
Such that Mosimane and his assistants, Rhulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mngqithi, embraced each other in sheer delight even before the final whistle as soon as they learnt the results from Braamfontein.
But who can blame them? They’ve proven their mettle as they had to dig deep and come from a 13th point deficit and bag their title after they were all but written off in the first half of the season having had to juggle continental and domestic football.
However, Sundowns’ players are gradually proving that when you have a coach that believes in you, then you are surely bound to reap the rewards.
Maboe, the hattrick hero agaisnt Leopards, was deemed wasteful in the last matches since the restart but it is impressive and recommendable how he took the criticism on the chin.
For the rest of the Sundowns’ players and technical team, the hard job continues as another spot in Caf Champions League’s next season is guaranteed in the grandest of manners.
This was the last Absa Premiership title – and it will grace the cabinet of Chloorkop forever – after the banking giant ended its 16-year-long partnership with the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
In the world of South African football, 2020 will not belong to the pandemic coronavirus which enforced sanitisers, the use of masks or social distancing, but to Sundowns, who astonishingly bagged a 10th league title.
The success story that Sundowns are willing to engrave didn’t end after bagging their second title of the season but it could very well continue next Saturday should they win the Nedbank Cup trophy.
Yes, take it in, Sundowns still have another final to play.
On Saturday, they’ll meet Bloemfontein Celtic in the final of South Africa’s premier club knockout competition where they could record their first ever treble, after winning the Telkom Knockout and Premiership title.
For Black Leopards, their journey in the top-tier division doesn’t end here as they’ll try to survive in the gruelling relegation/promotion play-offs after finishing 15th in the league.
But the day belonged to the Brazilians as their 50th anniversary celebrations have now been toppled off by La Decima!