Dissected with the attention to detail of a legendary Masterchef 2nd season casting outcast , your good mate Uncle Bob serves up his weekly Half-Time Orange For Thought; a mental morsel for the sports fanatic with a healthy appetite for wholesome consumables. We at GSV have reluctantly declared ourselves accountable for any digestion difficulties that may or may not occur. Enjoy!
There has been much furore regarding the struggles of the Soweto Giants this season; while the defending champions are barely keeping up with the pace of the title race and Orlando Pirates seemingly caught top in a battle for a high Top 8 spot, the Brazilians from Mamelodi have steadily blown away most of the sides placed before them and now have the League title in sight. The champions elect are currently riding a 15 game unbeaten streak in the ABSA Premiership and the free scoring Masandawana seem to be In pole position to add another league title to their honour roll if they can continue to pick up points and prove tough to beat for their opponents, the chasing pack evidently appear daunted by the already substantial advantage held by Downs at the top and the 9 time League winners need only hold their composure during a relatively well structured title run-in where the play 3 of the current top 4.
Without taking too much shine away from the club’s impressively consistent performances and great run of results coming off the back of good team performances coupled with a few tactical masterstrokes by the gaffer & his technical team, we have to take a moment to commend the highly enterprising trio that makes this team even more enthralling to watch; they are affectionately known as the Tshwane CBD, or the Central Busy District to some, Leandro Castro, Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly have combined impressively for a total of 22 goals and 17 assists between them in all competitions so far this season. To put it into context, the 17 League goals scored by the CBD means that they have outscored the University of Pretoria, Jomo Cosmos, Golden Arrows, and Bloemfontein Celtic , while equalling the current goal haul of the entire SuperSport United roster with 11 league games remaining.
The CBD have combined to provide 30 of Sundowns’ 37 league goals thus far through goals and assists; that astonishing 81% portion of goals contributed could lead one into thinking that Downs are a bit of a 3-Man Band this season, yet the success of the CBD has been the direct result of a settled team of experienced campaigners that play according to a set club ideology while performing to the best of their capabilities. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Pitso Mosimane should be commended for shunning the temptation to go on a buying spree after falling 12 points behind the rampant Kaizer Chiefs last season as his charges failed to continue the proud Mamelodi Sundowns tradition of attempting to and often succeeding in retaining the league title after winning it.
The free scoring Mamelodi Sundowns are the league leaders on the goal charts with their 37 goals placing them 5 goals ahead of title challengers BidVest Wits, that offensive output is matched by a stingy defence that is tied with that of Mpumalanga Black Aces’ for the tightest defensive units in the league with 15 goals conceded, one less than the goal-shy Kaizer Chiefs. Built upon a solid foundation and a quality laden roster that boasts at least 2 premier league level players in each position, the Mamelodi Sundowns train is a well oiled machine that will take some stopping in the weeks ahead; the team is not expressly reliant on the CBD to win games as they have star quality in every department and a playing ideology that allows each player to come into the side and know full well what is required of them in terms of performance levels and standards. The spine of the Sundowns side is an impressive one; 3 good goalkeepers that could be no: 1’s at most PSL clubs on any given matchday, an experienced central defensive lynchpin and leader in Thabo “Mr. Cool” Nthethe topped off with one of the best anchorman & playmaker combinations in the land in the form of Hlompho Kekena and Teko Modise.
The enterprising CBD have been allowed to acclimatise to each other relatively quickly and begin to flourish due to the solid foundation provided by the experienced spine that has formed the backbone of the squad over the last 30 months; the pace & trickery of Billiat & Dolly combine to feed off the link-up play and great movement of the clinical Castro to make for an attacking trio that may go down as one of the most legendary frontlines in the recent history of the club. The General, Teko Modise may have lost some of his ability to play full games in a tight schedule, yet the playmaker has not lost his ability to link defence with attack and provide the CBD with the service they require to be as effective as they have been; his passing range & vision have allowed him to effortlessly find the regularly open attacking trio and allow them to show their undoubted class. 8 assists & 3 goals in all competitions is a healthy return from the now 33 year old Navigator as he looks set to add another title to his list of accolades. One thing is for certain, we have not seen the end of the scintillating performances from Mamelodi Sundowns & their very busy Tshwane CBD and Bob’s your Arcadia Shepherds FC unofficial flag waving uncle.