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News Article  | PSL

THE BREAKDOWN: What Sundowns Must Do To Win Back The Title

Where can Sundowns improve next season?

By Kyle Smith - Jul 30, 2017 05:55 PM @KyleLaduma

After Mamelodi Sundowns relinquished the Absa Premiership title to Bidvest Wits last season, we analyse what went wrong and what needs to happen for them to claim their third title in five years. 

Official: Sundowns Part Ways With Defender

Sundowns have been a dominant force in Mzansi as well as on the African continent in recent times, having amassed an impressive six trophies since 2014. However, the 2016/17 season ended in relative disappointment after Gavin Hunt’s Bidvest Wits won the MTN8 and the league title, while SuperSport United and Cape Town City took home the Nedbank Cup and Telkom Knockout trophies, respectively. 

Sundowns took home the CAF Champions League and Super Cup over the course of the season, which is an incredible feat, having been only the second club to do so in South African football history. Nonetheless, following up the domestic double (Telkom Knockout and league titles) in 2015/16, the Brazilians will be keen to re-establish their dominance against South African teams. This is what could have gone wrong:

Fatigue

Perhaps the most obvious struggle for Pitso Mosimane in the 2016/17 Absa Premiership was squad management. Sundowns won just one of their last six games, including a crucial loss to Bidvest Wits and draws against Platinum Stars, Baroka FC, Maritzburg United and Highlands Park, showing that rescheduled fixtures due to continental commitments disrupted their momentum. The loss of Keagan Dolly in the January transfer window also cost them a key member of 2015/16’s famous trio (the CBD), while Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat also spent times on the sidelines, with the former unable to recover his best form when he managed to play.

Defensive focus

Despite falling three points short of the league winners, Sundowns had the highest goal return and conceded the least, which is regularly a strong indicator of quality. However, it was in crucial moments that they conceded, with the team having conceded twice in four of the last five games of the season, costing them crucial points. They actually conceded fewer goals than in the 2015/16 season, but their opponents’ conversion rate was the highest in the league (6%) and they conceded the highest percentage of goals in the box (94.7%) throughout the league, with 18 coming from within the penalty are and just one from outside of the box (plus an own goal). This could be a result of their regular centre backs being over the age of 30 and could indicate a decline in form.

Attacking faults

Furthermore, when it came to their entries into the opponents’ box, Sundowns had only the seventh most shots inside the box and were ninth in terms of goals inside the box. This is not due to a lack of opportunities, with the team boasting the highest average possession and the best passing accuracy in the league. Their problem was that they were ninth in the league in terms of final third passes. Scoring just five headed goals, coming seventh in the league in that regard is perhaps the clearest indication that they lacked a consistent centre forward, with the majority of successful attacks coming from less dangerous parts of the pitch. Another factor to consider is that, when the pressure was on and the club trailed 1-0, two-thirds of those games resulted in defeats

Struggling away from home

Four of Sundowns’ five losses throughout the campaign came away from home and they averaged just 1.8 points per match, compared to two per match at home. They scored more than double goals per game at home (2.4) compared to their away record (1.07). However, their 10 goals conceded at home and away, which ranks third and first in the league shows that their defensive performances remained on par.

Therefore, Pitso Mosimane will have a lot to consider in his plans for the season, especially considering that he could have another lengthy continental run ahead of him. Managing his squad and making key signings will be vital for their ability to stamp their authority on the domestic front.

What Next For Sundowns Defender?

What do you think Sundowns need to improve upon in the coming season?


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Xolany Mthembu @ ndumo wedowns Joined: 21 Jul 2017
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Xolany Mthembu @ ndumo wedowns Jul 31, 2017 11:37 AM
lazzy cowditor still no news here
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mosesmu Joined: 24 Jul 2014
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mosesmu Jul 31, 2017 10:59 AM
Home form was also a problem, they drew more games at home that they could have normally won, considing goals at the last minutes.
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Ntsikie00010 Joined: 15 Oct 2013
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Ntsikie00010 Jul 31, 2017 10:57 AM
We know where the title is, we'll go and get it again this season. There is nothing we must do
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Mumm_Rubi Joined: 18 Jun 2013
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Mumm_Rubi Jul 31, 2017 10:46 AM
Pitso have the address. He will bring it home
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Khosification Amu86 Joined: 11 Aug 2015
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Khosification Amu86 Jul 31, 2017 09:20 AM
Last time I check Pitso said Sundowns will loose only to Sundown, this guy disrespected each and every team in PLS, That is why he failed to collect maximum points from teams like Baroka, Highlands Park...Football humbled him
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Myaka weliPhefeni Joined: 14 Jul 2016
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Myaka weliPhefeni Jul 31, 2017 09:00 AM
Lool ndunu fc fans mst not worry bcz Pizza moshimali told cowditor that when they want to collect the League they knw the address where they cn find it
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Wandilerafu Joined: 27 Jul 2017
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Wandilerafu Jul 31, 2017 08:56 AM
Yellow Nation ever no matter what
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thabanggi Joined: 15 Feb 2010
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thabanggi Jul 31, 2017 08:44 AM
Flops still hv the squad in the lig the problem is when they were doing well all the success went in to their heads started believing that they are untouchable , disrespecting any team that they came up against.Pitso wld give praise to any team that he outplays but if he gets beaten he wld blame everyone from ball boy to security guards, sometimes u must remain or else the football gods will humble you. I still remember Jose Feraira after winning the lig " this is a victory of humanity over arrogance n disrespect" these words were purely directed to Pitso .
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Tabali Joined: 15 Feb 2010
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Tabali Jul 31, 2017 08:04 AM
Call Mahachi to fill the void space left by Dolly. Don't splash money now, use what we have and blended it with Multi Choice Diski players. Aluta Continua
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I am Remy Joined: 21 Mar 2017
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I am Remy Jul 31, 2017 07:00 AM
Pitso must learn to b humble remember wen ey were winning games left right n centre wat did he say i quote "......only sundowns can beat sundowns" really dat led to eir downfall plus we must remember dat e league n all cups r a competition its not for em to win only #pirates fan
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Sundowns 100% Joined: 30 Jul 2017
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Sundowns 100% Jul 31, 2017 06:57 AM
Plz K Chips Fn Sundowns Will Win This Lg don't wr
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mitchvich Joined: 20 Sep 2013
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mitchvich Jul 31, 2017 06:35 AM
You forgot to mention the refferees who were against Sundowns.
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Austine Tungu Joined: 24 Jul 2017
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Austine Tungu Jul 31, 2017 06:33 AM
It will be better to note for improving
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Realeboha Piet Joined: 23 Apr 2017
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Realeboha Piet Jul 31, 2017 06:09 AM
Don't worry admin, wait and c how will b back very strong for this league
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More Over Joined: 19 Jul 2017
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More Over Jul 31, 2017 05:49 AM
What about Wits
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ziongate keeper Joined: 19 Jul 2017
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ziongate keeper Jul 31, 2017 04:29 AM
Fatigue the only word knwn by africans kkkkkk a silly excuse,sundown had dropped their game period,they must up their game orelse they ll not win n thing this season
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sir Percy Joined: 28 Mar 2017
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sir Percy Jul 31, 2017 01:04 AM
I've never seen a team so successful like downs
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Down_And_Out Joined: 06 Jul 2017
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Down_And_Out Jul 31, 2017 12:20 AM
mxm no news here
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Sam-4-Downz Joined: 23 Sep 2013
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Sam-4-Downz Jul 30, 2017 11:42 PM
We need to sign very wisely and sacrifice minor cups like mtn8, tko and nedbank
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Bonga7 Joined: 29 Jul 2017
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Bonga7 Jul 30, 2017 11:07 PM
#KABOYELLOW

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