Downs are still in the title hunt but need an uptick in form starting with tonight’s game against Maritzburg United
MAMELODI Sundowns’ hopes of a dream treble is still alive and the club’s approach suggests that this is a feat they believe is still achievable.
But the number of permutations for Sundowns to defend their league title is now growing with the same intensity as the grey spikes on Pitso Mosimane’s unkempt beard.
Mosimane’s men will definitely need to start collecting full points if they are to turn their dream into a reality. The Brazilians are yet to get off the mark in the league after the resumption of football.
The champions started to feel they are losing the grip at the start of the week when they were humbled 3-2 by a reinvigorated Cape Town City side.
Before this, the champions shared the spoils with Highlands Park and Orlando Pirates.
Translated to points, the three results mean they dropped a whopping seven points and secured just two – not quite a convincing run for a club looking for their “La Decima” and a hat-trick of titles.
There was some reprieve for the Brazilians, however, when the log leaders Kaizer Chiefs were dethroned 3-1 by a lionhearted Bloemfontein Celtic outfit. It didn’t help the Glamour Boys that they had already drawn a game (1-1 with Bidvest Wits) within their first three outings after the restart.
But Chiefs are still at the summit and leading by six points, while the only solace for Sundowns is that they have a game in hand.
The relentless bio-bubble schedule will not give Mosimane planning space as they are fixtured against Maritzburg United at Lucas Moripe Stadium this evening at 6pm.
Mosimane is aware of what to expect from the Team of Choice but games are so tricky in the “new normal” that even the usually street-smart Sundowns mentor will find it hard to prepare to the tee.
“Maritzburg won four games in a row before Covid-19 which we did also, to be honest,” Mosimane said’ “But after Covid-19, they have lost one against Black Leopards. So, it is not easy.
“They have had enough time and enough rest. We have played four games in nine days. It is unbelievable. It is the way the programme is.
“No one is guaranteed a win at this point in time, anybody can beat anybody,” he added.
There’s no denying that the race for supremacy is now between the two clubs. It is the log leaders Kaizer Chiefs and the defending champions Sundowns.
What makes it even more intriguing is the fact that these two sides still have to face each other.
That could be a potential decider for the league title. But Sundowns have to rediscover their form starting with Friday’s game against Maritzburg.
“If we focus on our games, we focus on the process, we will sort it out. But you can’t say we are not looking at the log position. We are looking at it,” Mosimane elaborated.
Mosimane is chasing his record fifth league title with Sundowns. That will make him the most successful coach in the Premier Soccer League era.
Meanwhile, the Team of Choice might be without the services of Mxolisi Kunene who twisted his knee in the last match. Vincent Kobola, who is an assistant coach to Eric Tinkler, is expecting a difficult game against Sundowns.
“It was a tough defeat against Black Leopards. We really let ourselves down. We should have done better. Leopards wanted it more than us. We need to improve in our next game against Sundowns.
“It is going to be difficult there, especially after they lost against Cape Town City. They will want to beat us at all costs.
“We also lost against Leopards and we want to bounce back,” Kobola said.