Mamelodi Sundowns’ AFCON dominance: A forge for Champions, not a crisis

Mamelodi Sundowns legend Thabo Nthethe dismisses concerns over eleven of the club’s stars donning national team colours at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), emphasizing the golden opportunity for growth.

In an interview with Soccer Laduma, Nthethe, acknowledging the calibre of players like Themba Zwane, Aubrey Modiba, and others representing both Bafana Bafana and Namibia, sees this not as a squad depletion but as a furnace forging champions. “It’s a good thing they have so many players at AFCON. Not just for Bafana Bafana but Namibia as well. That just shows the quality Sundowns have,” he commented.

Highlighting the importance of game time, Nthethe notes, “The tournament will help keep them active, which is a good thing.” He envisions the entire Sundowns first eleven, from goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to top striker Peter Shalulile, gaining valuable experience on AFCON’s stage.

Nthethe paints a vivid picture of those left behind, the “fringe players,” seizing the opportunity to rebuild and prove their worth. “While other teams will be only playing in friendly games, Sundowns will be playing in competitive games at AFCON.”

Emphasizing the competitive edge that AFCON offers, Nthethe considers it a sharpening stone for Sundowns’ already formidable blade. He urges the players to capitalize on the chance to showcase their capabilities, especially in such a high-stakes environment.

Acknowledging the legendary player management of the Downs machine, Nthethe praises their recovery plans, stating, “They know how to manage the fatigue of their players and that’s what helps them compete effectively in all the tournaments, no matter how many games they play.” This, he believes, showcases the club’s depth of quality and their ability to navigate tricky situations.

Nthethe dispels any notion of crisis, framing the AFCON participation as a strategic move that will only strengthen Sundowns’ position as a football powerhouse. For them, it’s not about the big names alone; it’s about the entire squad stepping up and proving their mettle on the grand stage.