What More Must Sundowns Do?
Editor's Blog: What More Must Sundowns Do?
Mamelodi Sundowns continue with their excellent form as they fly off to represent South Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup – the highest level of club football on the planet – following their successful CAF Champions League campaign that saw them being crowned African champions just over a month ago.
Coach Pitso Mosimane’s charges will be rubbing shoulders with some of the best in the world, but it seems like the country doesn’t quite realise just how huge this is. Sadly, not even the team’s supporters seem to acknowledge just how important this amazing achievement is, or how well Mosimane’s team has done by winning the Champions League to secure a place in Japan.
Remember, it’s been more than two decades since Orlando Pirates received the honour of putting a star above their badge and, until recently, they were the only club in the country to have done so. That was until Jingles went on to achieve the same feat recently. This is the first time ever that South Africa will be represented at this club tournament, with the Brazilians also standing a chance of coming up against Real Madrid – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – yet I feel this achievement by Masandawana isn’t being given the kind of attention it richly deserves.
What more should the team do in order to play in front of decent crowds, especially in their home games? Do they always have to play Mzansi’s giants in order to attract decent crowds? The last time Sundowns enjoyed proper support was during the days of Roger Feutmba, Charles Motlohi, Daniel Mudau and many other legends of the club. Obviously, the current team is completely different to the Class of the ‘90s, but their success over the past three seasons calls for more passion and support from the club’s faithful.
Let’s not forget that the club had not won any major silverware in almost a decade when Mosimane arrived, yet today they are considered the best team on the continent. Surely the least they could expect from their fans is support on match days. The club’s supporters have been ridiculed by their more successful counterparts for a long time and it is now their turn to make some noise, however, to say they’ve been disappointing would be an understatement. Here’s a perfect opportunity to cherish your players and capitalise on the team’s good form and success, but you don’t seem keen to revel in it. What could the reasons for the continued poor crowd attendance be? I would really like to hear from the club’s supporters who aren’t attending games because maybe I’m missing something here. While I know, for a fact, that Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates enjoy far greater numbers in terms of their support base than Sundowns, I refuse to believe the numbers we’ve seen at Loftus are a true reflection of the team’s support base.
I’m told a number of Downs’ supporters will be sent to Japan on an all-expenses-paid trip. Only a short while ago, the club did something similar when they went to play the second leg of the Champions League final in Egypt. How many teams have done something like that for their supporters? You’d be hard-pressed to find a club that shows so much care and appreciation for their faithful supporters. So it’s a depressing sight when the team plays in front of a relatively empty Loftus Versfeld Stadium in their home games, despite all the investment in their supporters. Ka Bo Yellow nation, please make a plan to change this worrying phenomenon because I’m pretty sure that your players are wondering what more they need to do in order to play in front of decent crowds. Let’s be honest, it would be exceedingly difficult for Mosimane and his technical team to get the team playing much better than they are at the moment.
Still on the supporters, we slowly continue to witness a disturbing trend of a section of Kaizer Chiefs supporters pelting missiles at their under-fire coach, Steve Komphela. While the frustration is understandable because of the team’s poor form, stooping to criminal levels is just unacceptable. There’s no place for hooligans in the Beautiful Game and if there was a time the team needed their supporters, it would be right about now. It is very important for the well behaved supporters to reprimand those taking part in these acts of hooliganism, as their actions continue to chase people away from the stadiums. We continue to condemn poor crowd attendances week in and week out, but missiles flying at stadiums will just undo everything we’re working so hard to achieve. People need to feel safe at stadiums, like they did back in the day.
Before I go, let me wish Bafana Ba Style all the best for when they fly South Africa’s flag high in Japan. Best of luck, as well, to SuperSport United and Cape Town City for their much-anticipated Telkom Knockout final clash this Saturday evening, which is sure to be a cracker!