Mamelodi Sundowns have dominated South African football over the past decade, having won 7 out of 10 premierships, including the last five in a row. This is due to a well-run club from top to bottom, leaving their biggest rivals, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, behind. To maintain their dominance and establish a dynasty, they may need to refresh their squad.
Currently, the Masandawana squad has an average age of 27, which is not terrible but could be a cause for concern in a few years if they don’t continue producing top young talents. The Brasilians only have two players under the age of 24 in their squad. This is a concern for Sundowns fans as they should have several top players under 24 who are ready to challenge the senior players in the squad.
However, they have a promising young player, Cassius Mailula (21), who has taken the league by storm this season and inspired Sundowns to a 15-game winning streak. If Coach Rulani Mokwena can bring in more prospects like Mailula, they will likely dominate South African football for the next decade. The coach also has the exciting striker Jerome Karlese who has come through the ranks at Sundowns and there is a clear pathway for Karlse to soon make the striker spot his own.
Coach Mokwena recently stated that the club must do more to give opportunities to young players, not just for the sake of supporters, but also for the club’s return on investment. This shows that there is a clear focus on developing young talent.
Additionally, the Mamelodi Sundowns U15 side will participate in the inaugural KDB Cup in Belgium later this year, which is a fantastic opportunity for these young players. Sundowns chairman Thlhopie Motsepe stated that this is part of the club’s strategy to develop their academy and South African football, investing in youth that will yield results in 10 years.
In conclusion, while there is a clear argument that Sundowns need more under-24 players, their academy infrastructure and vision seem to be well thought-out. This will likely lead to increased integration of youth players and solidify the Sundowns dynasty.