Sundowns' dominance over other teams in the league is almost a forgone conclusion and there is always hope that the Buccaneers and Amakhosi, given their status as bigs clubs, can make the league interesting by giving the Brazilians a run for their money.
Chiefs showed promise from their off-season activity, signing a number of quality players that they would compete this season and they gave it their best shot in the first match of the season, drawing 2-2 with Sundowns in the MTN8 quarter-finals in extra-time, although they eventually lost on penalties.
However, the Tshwane giants showed their class in a league match with convincing 2-0 win over Amakhosi and Stuart Baxter's charges are yet to recover since then, with an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Royal AM and a goalless draw to Marumo Gallants condemning them to 13th spot on the log, already eight points behind Sundowns.
This past Saturday it was Pirates' chance to see if they can halt the Brazilians' momentum, since they were unbeaten in their first four matches in the league and they too lost 2-0 to Masandawana, without giving the Tshwane side much trouble.
The reason why Sundowns can't be matched by either Pirates and Chiefs is that no player is really guaranteed to start, as there is fierce competition for places.
Against the Buccaneers, for example, the Brazilians had enough quality to drop Gaston Sirino, with Thabiso Kutumela preferred instead and the former Maritzburg United striker's pace exposed the space left behind by left wing-back Paseka Mako, who always overlaps.
"So Kermit Erasmus and Peter Shalulile have been doing well so we had to sacrifice Gaston who was not doing well. It's just that we felt we needed a little bit more directness behind either a Mako or a Hotto if they decided to play with Hotto as a wing-back," Mngqithi said after the game, as quoted by Kickoff.
At Pirates and Chiefs, most players are guaranteed to start, whether they are off-form or not and that's what makes the difference between them and their inability to compete with Sundowns.
At the Brazilians, they reward players places in the team based on merit and that mentality is what makes them to become serial winners.
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