Mamelodi Sundowns’ ambitions are starting to backfire. While they have had smooth sailing for the past few years, the club has struggled in recent seasons. They are no longer the ruthless machine they once were.
The decline began after the sudden departure of Pitso Mosimane. His resignation not only shocked South Africa, but also had an impact throughout the African continent. Mosimane had made Sundowns his project and had invested his life in the club. His focus was to make Sundowns a force to be reckoned with and to build his own reputation in Africa and the Middle East.
Since Mosimane left, things have not been the same for the club. The bosses brought in Steve Komphela to join Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena in the technical team to add more strength. Despite achieving decent results and winning some trophies, they lacked the same flair and invincibility. There were setbacks along the way. After disappointing results and a 3-0 loss to Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 semifinals, changes were made. Mngqithi and Komphela were demoted, and Mokwena was promoted to the top position.
In the end, Sundowns only managed to win the DStv Premiership title, despite a promising campaign that initially seemed likely to bring more silverware. The bosses were most annoyed by their capitulation in the Caf Champions League semifinals, when they were just minutes away from reaching the final.
However, the team kept winning and losing remained rare. But egos started to inflate, creating a toxic environment that not everyone could see. Komphela spoke to club president Patrice Motsepe about the situation, unable to tolerate the “it’s all about me” attitude.
Mngqithi stayed behind, but he is reportedly unhappy and would leave if he found a similar salary elsewhere. In the new season, Sundowns have already suffered two major losses – in the MTN8 final against Pirates and in the Carling Knockout Cup against TS Galaxy.
Mokwena complained about the scheduling of matches after the FIFA international break. However, it was Sundowns who requested a rearrangement of their fixtures to participate in the lucrative $4-million African Football League. The desire to conquer this league and earn even more money has clouded their judgment and made them ignore the consequences of playing so many matches and tournaments.
Everything is reaching a breaking point and things are falling apart. Mokwena is now facing the biggest test of his coaching career. Only time will tell if he has what it takes to prove himself.
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