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Mamelodi Sundowns

Mon 14 Jan by Mark Gleeson

StoryOfWeek

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane knows all too well what lies ahead of his club in the coming months as they chase success on three different fronts.They face the possibility of playing more than 30 matches before the end of May if they are to prove successful in cup competitions plus complete their league programme.It is, as Mosimane is always quick to point out, like fitting a full season’s programme in half that time.Tomorrow (WED) they are hosting Maritzburg United in what is the 14th game of their league campaign, meaning they are yet to reach the halfway mark.The first 13 have proven unbeaten but seen more draws than wins and has left Sundowns still off the pace, although lurking ominously in third place in the standings.But if they are to win the catch-up games, they will quickly be catapulted into the lead. The two sides above them in the log standings have proven inconsistent already since the turn of the year.Leaders Wits lost at home to Kaizer Chiefs last Wednesday and Orlando Pirates drew against Highlands Park in their first game of 2019.Both clubs are likely to drop a lot more points, which means the way is clear for Sundowns to put together a run of victories and go on and retain their league title even at a canter.But this is going to be very difficult with the distraction of the African Champions League and Sundowns are likely as vulnerable as all the other sides in the title race.The game against bottom-placed Maritzburg will not be easy given Mosimane is likely to rest players after their weekend trip to Nigeria where they lost at the start of the group phase of the African Champions League.Instead it is his fringe players, many of whom do not have too much mileage in their legs, who will have to step up against a Maritzburg side desperate to register only a second victory of the league season.Sundowns have created an expansive squad to deal with the demands of playing three games a week but Mosimane too often relies on a core of players, who are inevitably going to tire and face burn out as the season develops.