Premiership sides will have to fight valiantly to prevent Sundowns sealing sensational sextuple

Who will derail Mamelodi Sundowns’ dominance as the domestic campaign kicks off?
As the new Premier Soccer League kicks into action on Friday, 5 August — following a two-month break — the prevailing discussion is on whether anyone can halt the dominant run of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Masandawana wrapped up the 2021/2022 season with 19 matches won from their total of 30 in the DStv Premiership, while they lost just three and drew eight.
That run sealed a record-extending fifth domestic league title in a row for the Tshwane giants, while stretching their overall league tally to 12 in the PSL era. The sides with the next-best haul are Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, with just four apiece.
With all this considered, a Sundowns side settled on its philosophy and playing style is once again the favourite to add another league title to its trophy cabinet.
However, Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi would prefer that his side is tested a bit more in the 2022/2023 season, rather than winning the title at a canter — as they did last season when the gap between them and second-placed Cape Town City was a mammoth 16 points after the dust had settled.
“In our failures in the Champions League, to a certain extent, I felt that if our league was a little bit more intense and other teams were pushing each other and us, we could have had a better chance in the Champions League,” said Mngqithi.
For all their dominant displays on the home front, where they sealed a treble by also clinching the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup, Masandawana flattered to deceive in the CAF Champions League.
The South Africans were mathematically the best-performing team during the group phase of last season’s Champions League, accumulating 16 points from a possible haul of 18. They also conceded the fewest goals (jointly), letting in just two (alongside Morocco’s Raja Casablanca and Espérance of Tunisia).
The 2016 African champions then came unstuck against the Angolan outfit Petro Atlético in the quarterfinals. Mngqithi believes that had Masandawana been better tested domestically, it might have helped them advance their continental aspirations.
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“We’ve been doing well in the group stages, but who will remember that? We have to win the competition. Sundowns and Cape Town City are the representatives of the country [this season], so they have the bigger responsibility to make sure the trophy comes home,” ...