Five all-time great Mamelodi Sundowns players
Mamelodi Sundowns have boasted many great players down the years, from Basil ‘Dancing Shoes’ Hartze of Marabastad Sundowns, through Pitso Mosimane in the 1980s, Phil and Bennet Masinga in the 90s, Matthew Booth in the new century, to Percy Tau in recent years.
Here are five of the best players to ever don the famous yellow jersey …
The last of the great South African goalscorers, Daniel ‘Mambush’ Mudau smashed them in at a regular rate and, unlike most strikers, he kept the goals coming for a decade.
Mamelodi-born, Mudau was a Sundowns youth product who spent some time with Ratanang Maholosiane before, in 1993, he was unleashed on the NSL. He finished the season as top scorer countrywide with 22 League goals as Sundowns won the title.
In 1999/2000, now an experienced campaigner with 16 Bafana caps, Mudau was top scorer again with 17 as the Brazilians completed a hat-trick of Premiership titles.
And in 2000/01, although Downs relinquished their place at the top to Orlando Pirates, Mudau’s 15 league goals were still sufficient to beat his peers countrywide. All told, Mambush netted 23 goals in all competitions that season - at the age of 31.
He completed his Sundowns career in 2005 with 172 goals in 390 matches to his name.
Same ‘Ewe’ Kambule joined Mamelodi Sundowns from neighbours Pretoria Callies in 1986. A powerful overlapping full-back who was comfortable on both flanks, Kambule was a key figure in three title-winning seasons, in 1988 - when he was named Player of the Season - 1990 and 1993, by which time he had racked up 333 games for the Brazilians. He also played nine times - all starts - for the SA national team on South Africa’s return to international football.
‘Jazzy Queen’ was a dangerous winger who had it all. With blistering pace and world-class technique, Legodi ruled the right wing, employing skill and great vision to unlock defences. He packed a strong shot and despite his lack of height, was combative in aerial duels.
Legodi, who earlier starred for Witbank Aces and briefly (Durban) Bush Bucks, made almost 200 appearances for Downs between 1987 to 1993, and was part of the great championship-winning teams of 1988 and 1990, although his game-time was restricted in the 1993 title-winning side.
He was an early member of the South African national team upon readmission into FIFA in 1992, gaining five caps.
One of the finest midfielders who ever played in this country, Malawian Ernest Mtawali - or Chirwali as he was known to South African fans - was a brilliant young midfielder at Bloemfontein Celtic when the club won the Mainstay Cup in 1985 and he was named Player of the Season.
He joined Sundowns in the late-80s, making an already powerful side stronger. Chirwali played 190 matches for Sundowns, helping them to two League titles, and was particularly instrumental in the 1993 championship triumph.
With his superb skill, vision and ability to dictate the tempo of a match, he would surely have gone on to forge a lucrative career in Europe had he not fallen foul of the International Sports Boycott against apartheid South Africa.
As soon as he played for Welkom Real Hearts in the early 1980s, he was an outlaw in the eyes of FIFA. Of course, many players from FIFA-member countries in Southern Africa played in this country, but if they were good enough to have a career in Europe - as Chirwali was - they found themselves blocked.
He finally got his chance to play in Argentina and in France’s Ligue 1 in the mid-80s. In 1996, he returned to play briefly for Sundowns again before moving to Saudi Arabia.
In 2000, he returned once more to South Africa, helping Orlando Pirates win the League while in his mid-30s.
Roger Feutmba had been a squad member of the mighty Cameroon side that made history at the Italia ‘90 World Cup, and had played professionally in Europe for Kortrijk in Belgium.
He was already in his late 30s when he joined Sundowns in 1997 but, over the next three seasons, he was the key figure in a star-studded midfield as the Brazilians won an unprecedented three Premier League titles in a row. By the time he left the club in 2001, ‘The General’ had racked up over 150 appearances in the yellow of ‘Bafana ba Style’.
His vision and variety of passes were second to none as Sundowns strutted to victory over victory. His right foot was strictly for standing on, leaving one to wonder what a two-footed Feutmba might have achieved.