Mamelodi Sundowns have been doing as they please in South African football since coach Pitso Mosimane‘s era. Mosimane laid a foundation after taking over the reins from the Dutch coach, Johan Neeskens, in December 2012. Sundowns went on to win the CAF Champions League in 2016 as well as premiership titles along the way and since then, they have become a monster team in South African football to date.

Now the question is, can anyone show up to finally stop Masandawana’s momentum? LimSportsZone editor Clifton Mabasa looks at whom, he thinks, can challenge the champions.

WHY ORLANDO PIRATES STAND A CHANCE

Without any doubt, football wise, Pirates can be the team to challenge Mamelodi Sundowns in the 2023/2024 season, despite their awful start in the league. The Buccaneers have had some epic cup battles with Sundowns lately, winning the MTN8 twice and the Nedbank Cup between 2020 and 2023.

This strongly suggests that they have all the attributes to take anything at stake, to take whatever comes their way. Pirates have a great chance and have the potential to go to the next level.

OPINION: Who can challenge Mamelodi Sundowns dominating football display?
Mamelodi Sundowns players celebrate

COACH JOSE RIVEIRO’S INFLUENCE

Following the arrival of the Spanish coach, Jose Riveiro, whose appointment in June 2022 left South African football lovers in a perplexed state as many thought he lacked experience—the Soweto giants have been displaying good football.

In fact, the Buccaneers have, of late, been the one team who gave Sundowns tough times whenever they met. Judging by their last few games of last season.

Riveiro’s side turned out to be the second-best side in the DStv Premiership last season. The coach led the Sea Robbers to an unforeseeable level of success in his first season. This should be a special notification to everyone that something special is being done.

The Vigo-born coach made Pirates to be arguably the most dominant club that can challenge the unconquerable Sundowns in the league. And verily, when the two teams lock horns in a particular match, fans witness a better game of football.

MZANSI’S FOOTBALL DEVOTEES LOVE PIRATES’ APPROACH

And now, many of Mzansi’s football lovers have given their honest verdict on Pirates’ style of play. Interestingly, among those, is coach Pitso Mosimane—who has not given many positive views when it comes to foreign coaches.

However, speaking to Power FM Sport Show back in June, the former Al Ahly coach said: “Firstly, I must congratulate the Buccaneers for winning two trophies. The coach, first year, two trophies. I am very much impressed by his formations and tactics. He is very spot on.”

“He knows his stuff, he is very calm and humble, and he has also done very well. You know my opinion about European coaches in South Africa. This is what we want to see, this is a value add, brilliant. This is what we need from European coaches in South Africa.”

So basically, this speaks a lot about the Pirates we are all seeing in this year’s DStv Premiership campaign.

WHAT MAKES THE BUCCANEERS A POTENTIAL CHALLENGER TO MAMELODI SUNDOWNS

Another reason that makes Pirates a potential challenger is that they know how to recruit quality players.
Pirates possess some of the best players in the country. Their scouting department has not been sleeping on duty lately.

The Buccaneers’ strategy of bringing players on board in recent years has and will continue to pay off.

Nonetheless, we will see how it will unfold, as the season goes.

By Clifton Mabasa