JOHANNESBURG – It was not meant to be this way. This is probably the sentiment the Mamelodi Sundowns faithful have in their heads after the Brazilians squandered their chances of closing in on PSL log leaders Kaizer Chiefs in recent weeks.
In the past two seasons, Sundowns did the improbable, capitalising on their games in hand towards the end of the season and won the league successively as they set distance between themselves and Orlando Pirates and Wits, who both failed in their aspirations to hold on to top spot on the log.
But it appears that it won’t be “third time lucky” for Sundowns in their pursuit for the championship this campaign, having notched up three draws and a loss in their four league matches since the restart to the season.
Granted, in their first match back, Sundowns reached the Nedbank Cup final after beating Wits 3-2 in the semi-finals thanks to their fighting spirit after snatching victory through a late goal from substitute Lyle Lakay.
Since then, however, Sundowns’ fighting spirit has been questionable, especially after bagging only three points out of a possible 12.
After their 2-2 draw with Maritzburg United at the Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe Stadium on Friday, coach Pitso Mosimane appeared to be pleased with his team’s performance.
“Jingles” said “there’s more to the game than results” and applauded his players for digging deep and at least bagging a point against a Maritzburg side hoping to finish in the top five.
Sundowns will be searching for that elusive win since the restart when they face Golden Arrows at Dobsonville Stadium today in a match that will have a strong say when it comes to the decider in the championship race.
Abafana Bes’thende will not easily allow that as they are also looking for their first win since the resumption after playing to a draw with Wits and losses to Stellenbosch FC and relegation-threatened Black Leopards.
Arrows coach Steve Komphela will know that he’ll have to finish in the top eight this season having finished the last campaign without a chance to compete for the MTN8 crown earlier this season.
Arrows are currently in 10th place in the league.
But for Mosimane, he will know that finishing in the top two, where they’ll once again qualify for the Caf Champions League next season, remains part of the bumper four-year deal he signed with the club earlier this year.
Mosimane has to ensure that his right-hand men Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena also give him the best advice on how to run a well-oiled machine.
They have, after all, also signed new four-year deals with Sundowns.