What began as a rather shambolic and inconsistent start to the Premier Soccer League (PS) season for Mamelodi Sundowns seems to be a smooth campaign following successive victories.
On Tuesday night, Sundowns showed exactly why they are highly regarded in South Africa and around the continent as they showed ruthlessness in front of goal to earn themselves the much-needed three points at the Bidvest Stadium.
Granted that Wits were not exactly the league’s form team, victory over the Students would have come as a massive confidence boost, especially considering that Sundowns found themselves under the cosh for large portions of the game.
Meanwhile, prior to kick-off, the Brazilians found themselves in an unfamiliar mid-table position, but after recording wins over Orlando Pirates and most recently Wits, coach Pitso Mosimane and his troops are back among the league’s chasing pack.
The three points saw Sundowns move up to fourth on the log, three points off the summit, and considering that they are headed for a highly congested end to the 2017 South African football calendar, who’s to bet against them being top of the table come Christmas?
On closer inspection of Sundowns' upcoming fixtures, it is quite apparent that once again Mosimane’s team has found themselves in pole position. The Tshwane giants have six games remaining before the Christmas break, and with games scheduled against the top three among other teams, if they are to walk away from those with favourable results, they have an opportunity of solidifying a place at the top of the league.
But as the saying goes, ‘football is not won on paper’, and with the form of the likes of Bloemfontein Celtic, Golden Arrows and Chippa United, it could prove tough for the former African champions.
Mosimane will certainly need to rotate his squad to avoid fatigue; something which Sundowns' Caf Champions League exploits have taught them, but worrying for them would be their lack of killer instinct.
Sundowns remaining in the title hunt isn’t exactly down to them picking up points consistently, but rather due to the top three dropping points on a regular basis in recent weeks, and if they are to catch up to the likes of the unfancied Bakgaga, whom with each day that passes begin to believe in the unthinkable, they will need Khama Billiat to be firing on all cylinders.
Whether or not the Zimbabwe international should remain or leave Chloorkop at the end of the season, will always be up for debate, but until his contract expires at the end of June, his impact at the club cannot be downplayed.
With the likes of Percy Tau and Themba Zwane failing to find the back of the net regularly, the onus is firmly on Billiat’s shoulders, and as he showed at the Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday evening, he remains their main source of goals..
Nonetheless, while it is still too early to make a call on Sundowns’ title charge, what's known is if the former African champions can find the elusive consistency required and register several wins on the trot, then they will certainly give themselves a chance of challenging Baroka, but until then, Sundowns need to continue grinding results and take it games as they come.