Death, taxes ... and a trophy for Mamelodi Sundowns
JOHANNESBURG - Death and taxes are two of a handful of things that are guaranteed in life. But betting on Mamelodi Sundowns to win silverware in a season is becoming just as obvious.
In African football, that is reported to be tougher every campaign, the Brazilians have matured with the times. Their unprecedented run of silverware stretches to 11 trophies since Pitso Mosimane took over the coaching reins in 2012.
Nobody, not even Mosimane himself, would have imagined everything getting this big. When the 56-year-old returned to Chloorkop as the head coach, he found a team in the doldrums of the bottom half of the Premiership standings.
Out of their depth under Johan Neeskens, Mosimane entered and turned the paupers into the real epitome of “Bafana baStyle”.
And in just four and a half seasons in charge, Sundowns rose to the pinnacle of African football.
From then on, the Brazilians have never looked back as they’ve become a household name in continental football. Locally, their record speaks for itself as they’ve won silverware in almost every domestic season in the last seven years.
But it was on Saturday night at Orlando Stadium that the Brazilians showed their prowess over the 15 opponents in the premier division as they defeated Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 to hoist the Nedbank Cup and complete a domestic treble.
This was Sundowns’ second title in just seven days after they had completed ‘La Decima’ - a record 10th Premiership title - for the club after Kaizer Chiefs choked on the last day of the league season.
Given that they had already won the Telkom Knockout pre-Covid-19 in December, the club’s 50th birthday cake was given a “domestic treble” icing.
But how did it all get this big for the institution, many still ask.
Well, there’s a simple response. A happy dressing room yields positive results.
Mosimane’s ability to crack the whip on players that sulk and moan due to the workload has ensured that he works with a brigade of soldiers willing to sweat and bleed for the yellow and green jersey.
Gone are the days when Sundowns were known as a career-ending club, with players only signed to warm the bench or kick their heels in the stands.
When you put in the effort at training and live a healthy lifestyle, you are bound to get your chance on the pitch.
Ask Lebohang Maboe. The former Maritzburg United man came in for a lot of criticism this season after failing to hit the back of the net, but with perseverance and backing from Mosimane he was the hero on the final day of the league season.
The new season is already here, and the Brazilians have already made swift strides in ensuring that they beef up the squad so that they can still compete week in and week out, locally and continentally.
But do not expect a squad overhaul as Mosimane says he’ll not be rocking the boat, instead keeping the core of the team that has managed to complete the treble.