Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi says it is not only Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates that pose a threat to their title defence, but has identified five other clubs that could be potential banana skins for the champions this season.
Sundowns got yet another shock on Friday when they were beaten 2-1 by their cross-town rivals SuperSport United, which has suggested that teams are slowly closing the gap on Sundowns, who have largely dominated the DStv Premiership for the last five seasons.
View the 5 teams that could prove tricky for Sundowns in the gallery above
Now, the club’s co-coach Mngqithi has commented on the ascendence of a number of teams that will pose a challenge to Sundowns’ lengthy reign.
What I can say is that I’m impressed with what one would call smaller teams.
“I think they are the ones that are coming really strong [with] better coaching, better talent identification, better introduction of younger players and that is really encouraging in the league and it makes the competition a little bit fierce,” Mngqithi told journalists.
“I know the competition is expected to be (among) the three big teams, which is Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns, but the truth of the matter is the teams that are going to cause us a lot of problems are the ones that not many people are looking at.
“AmaZulu are coming in very strong, Stellenbosch are looking very strong, Sekhukhune are doing very well, TS Galaxy has done fairly well to be honest, and I’m also impressed with what Daine [Klate] is doing at Chippa, the team is looking very solid.
“That is very encouraging for me because everyone else is thinking about beating Sundowns, but they forget that they also have to beat each other as well,” he concluded.
Sundowns currently sit in fourth place on the log standings with 10 points, three points less than table-topping Royal AM on 13 points.