Sundowns march on despite lack of PSL support

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, are flying the South African flag high, and for their endeavours, they deserve to be treated with respect.

After earlier reports and some confusion that Sundowns’ midweek match against Richards Bay was postponed, the match went ahead.

Even though they were denied the much needed postponement, Sundowns showed their strength and depth when they made a whopping 11 changes in their starting line up. They started with a new team from the one that drew 0-0 against Young Africans at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Tanzania in the first leg of their Caf Champions League quarterfinal last Saturday.

They were not as clinical and fearsome but they showed true character when they scored with a last minute sucker punch from Junior Mendieta. And mind you, they were playing against a disciplined, stubborn and well coached outfit under the tutelage of Vusimuzi “Kanu” Vilakazi.

But having to play the match left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Brazilian’s technical team and supporters. Coach Rulani Mokwena made a veiled reference about not having had enough time to prepare for Richards Bay, three days after the taxing Yanga encounter.

They needed to travel back to SA last Sunday and then practise for a match taking place on Tuesday. One is left with no choice but to ponder what would have happened if the same treatment would have been given to either Orlando Pirates or Kaizer Chiefs.

Sundowns’ quest to conquer Africa and to put SA back on the football map is not getting any assistance, just a lot of unnecessary hindrances and shortsightedness from those who run football. This is all the while the noisy competitors, Pirates and Chiefs, are dropping points more than a celebrity name dropper.

Before yesterday’s round of matches, both teams dropped five points apiece in two matches. The Buccaneers were spanked 2-1 by Sekhukhune United before drawing 1-1 against Moroka Swallows in the original Soweto derby.

Pirates coach Jose Riveriro was revered after winning a couple of trophies, but he seems to be getting lost with every league game the Sea Robbers play. Bucs are blowing hot and cold like an ancient Toyota Cressida aircon. At the rate they are going, they may not even get a Caf Confederations slot for next season.

Chiefs, on the other hand, drew 0-0 against Cape Town City before getting a 1-0 smack at the hands of Stellenbosch FC midweek. Amakhosi may be dropping down the PSL log table like parachutists and struggling to stay in the top eight bracket, but their coach Cavin Johnson still says he’s the right man for the job.

“We haven’t given up hope, we need to find the right player to score the goals and as a team, we are struggling to get that. But the team and I, we are still together,’’ Johnson was quoted by SABC Sports after the loss.

He added: “Look we are there, and like I said there’s no interim coach anywhere in the world. You do the job because you are offered the job, and at that moment, you have to do your best.

“Right now, we are trying our best as a group and if it works you clap hands and say thank you.” 

The two glamour clubs seem to be in a free fall… unless something drastic is done to save the sinking ships.

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