Sundowns dicing for double and records galore

BRAZILIAN Lucas Ribeiro will be key for Mamelodi Sundowns as they go for more records. Phando Jikelo

BRAZILIAN Lucas Ribeiro will be key for Mamelodi Sundowns as they go for more records. Phando Jikelo

Published May 4, 2024


Matshelane Mamabolo

AND now off to add the cherry on top!

Fresh from securing a seventh successive league title courtesy of a 5-1 walloping of Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns will tomorrow strive to move a step closer to a domestic league and cup double.

It would be a massive achievement for a team that last won a domestic knockout trophy back in 2022 to add the Nedbank Cup to the Premiership title they have held on to in style.

But while defending their league title was as easy as going 24 matches without a loss, winning the country’s premier club knockout competition will take some doing.

Standing in the Brazilians’ way is an on-form Stellenbosch FC team who are ironically the last local opponents to beat them in normal game time. That 2-1 defeat was ironically in the same competition, albeit in the quarter-finals.

They are meeting in the semi-finals now and with both sides having been in such scintillating form in their last matches, tomorrow’s encounter at the Danie Craven Stadium in the Winelands promises to be a clash of the ages.

Ahead of tomorrow’s encounter, Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena, his players and the club’s supporters were walking on cloud nine following an incredible victory over Chiefs.

The 5-1 victory equalled Sundowns’ best result over Chiefs and it was attained in the second half after 10-man Amakhosi managed to keep them at bay in the initial stanza.

“Amazing,” was Mokwena’s description of his team’s performance.

“I think overall we were the best team on the pitch; it was a very good performance and an important result.

“To win the title against a very strong rival at the Calabash (FNB Stadium), I don’t remember when last an opponent dominated Chiefs with not just the scoreline but by the play at the Calabash.”

The result sees Sundowns on their way to creating Premier Soccer League (PSL) history by completing the season unbeaten; all they need do is avoid defeat in their remaining six matches.

They also stand to set a new points record, breaking their own 70-point haul from the 2022 season.

“The 71 points (record), why not go for it? If you get it, kudos; unlucky if you don’t,” said Mokwena.

“Why not go for the next target? Every mountain is there to be attempted to climb, so why not go for 71 points and breaking that, last season we got to 70.”

Sundowns are currently on 62 points and need just nine points from a possible 18 to get that record, with matches against the likes of Royal AM home and away as well as TS Galaxy plus the self-same Stellies.

And with the lure of earning the title of ‘Invincibles’ by going unbeaten throughout the entire season, bet on the Brazilians to continue putting the foot on the pedal in league matches.

Their supporters are sure to expect them to be in similar scintillating form as they were against Chiefs when they tackle Stellies this weekend in the Nedbank Cup.

Completing the league and cup double will surely help erase the pain of failing to reach the CAF Champions League final.