A brief cameo appearance from Mamelodi Sundowns’ Sipho Mbule against Kaizer Chiefs last weekend was another reminder how far behind Amakhosi have fallen.
A couple of minutes after setting foot on the field, Mbule demonstrated exactly the kind of dynamic midfield ability which made him such a sought after commodity as a shift of weight and change of direction saw him leaving Siyethemba Sithebe for dead.
That little moment contextualized well Chiefs’ struggles versus Mamelodi Sundowns’ quality.
The one that got awayBackpagepix
Prior to leaving SuperSport, Mbule had reportedly also been on the wanted list at Chiefs.
Sundowns though were able to pay the big bucks – believed to be in the R20 million region, likely also convincing Mbule that he would be joining a club where he would win trophies.
Amakhosi instead embarked on a drawn out mission to pry Sithebe away from AmaZulu, the player finding himself sidelined for half a season with Usuthu after signing a pre-contract with the Soweto club.
When he did start playing for Chiefs, he did reasonably well, but faded as the season went on and has not really added a lot of value.Backpagepix.
Mbule – possibly Chiefs’ first choice, has, meanwhile, hardly played at Downs; firstly because of fitness/ injury issues, but later because there is just so much competition for places. In total he's made three starts and has played 366 minutes in the league.
That Masandawana have been able to perform so well this season, setting records, without hardly using a player who cost a bundle and would have been a prized asset at Chiefs - shows how the Glamour Boys have fallen behind.
It was almost like Sundowns were teasing Amakhosi just to bring on Mbule for a few minutes.
The talented midfielder did go on to start Sundowns’ next match, the 2-1 win over TS Galaxy. It was, however, almost a ‘B’ side which beat the Rockets – such is the Pretoria side’s depth that head coach Rhulani Mokwena was able to make as many as eight changes to his starting XI.
Sundowns currently top the standings with 49 points – 25 points more than Chiefs in sixth spot.