© Loveness BernardAuthor: NJ HoveDuring the 2023/2024 season, our debutants dazzled across various competitions. Here, we provide a snapshot of their incredible first season at Mamelodi Sundowns.Lucas Ribeiro Costa #23
© Samuel ShivambuWhen he arrived, he said, “I can’t wait to dance”. That he did regularly! The highly-rated Brazilian made an instant impact at Chloorkop, scoring on his Premier Soccer League (PSL) debut in the 2-1 win over Sekhukhune United. In February, the fleet-footed forward famously scored a second-half hat-trick against AmaZulu, becoming the first-ever player from Brazil to score a league hat-trick in the PSL.

Overall, Costa featured in 37 games across all competitions, scoring 16 goals. His ability to beat defenders with his slick style, quick feet, and clever moves made him a nightmare for opponents.

He played a dominant role in helping Sundowns clinch the DSTV Premiership and African Football League titles in his first season. In addition, his South American flair has seamlessly integrated into Sundowns’ signature “Shoe Shine and Piano” style, making him a fan favorite.
Season Highlights:

  • 37 games played across all competitions
  • 16 goals scored
  • Scored on his debut against Sekhukhune United
  • Bagged a second-half league hat-trick against AmaZulu in February 2024 to become the first Brazilian to score a hat-trick.

For the upcoming pre-season, Lucas Ribeiro Costa says, “My goal is to continue improving my skills and fitness. I aim to build on this first season's success and contribute even more to the team. Next season, I want to help Mamelodi Sundowns win more titles and achieve even greater success. Personal growth and team achievements are both important to me, and I’m excited for what the future holds.”

Tashreeq Matthews #70
© Muzi NtombelaDespite only joining in January, the Cape Town-born forward enjoyed a memorable start to his Masandawna career and has become a fan favorite with his skillful play and goal-scoring ability.

Matthews’ versatility has been impressive, playing in various positions across the attack. He featured in 12 PSL games, scoring 4 goals. He scored his first-ever goal for Sundowns against Chippa United in March.

The highlight of his season arrived in the league match against Kaizer Chiefs, where he netted a brace in a commanding 5-1 victory, a result which officially clinched the PSL title. Tashreeq was awarded the Man of the Match honors in that epic clash.

With his impressive start at Bafana Ba Style, Matthews has established himself as a key player for the team and promises more to come, “When pre-season starts, I’m excited to join the team from the beginning. Last season, I joined midway and had to play catch-up. This time, I aim to fully integrate, understand the strategy and vision for the season, and contribute to the team’s success from the start,” Tashreeq said.

Season Highlights:

  • 17 games played across all competitions
  • 4 goals scored
  • Memorable brace in the 5-1 win against Kaizer Chiefs
Júnior Leandro Mendieta #15
Mendieta was another highly-rated South American who impressed in his first season at Chloorkop. His first-ever goal in a Sundowns shirt came in the 1-0 win over Richards Bay in August 2023, making him the third Argentinian to score a league goal for the Tshwane giants, following Emiliano Tade and Vicente Principiano.

The Argentine rose from the bench to make a significant impact again in the return fixture in April, scoring a last-minute winning goal in the 1-0 victory.
Mendieta’s impressive performances have made him a fan favourite with the Yellow Nation. As we look back at Mendieta’s maiden season, it is clear that this is just the beginning of an exciting journey.

Season Highlights:

  • Appeared in 29 games across all competitions
  • Scored a thrilling 94th-minute winner against Richards Bay
Bathusi Aubaas #19
© Muzi NtombelaIt’s been a promising first year for Bathusi Aubaas, the South African defensive midfielder who joined Mamelodi Sundowns in August 2023. Since his arrival, the 29-year-old has been a rock in midfield, providing stability and vision to the team.
Season Highlights:
  • Played 23 games across all competitions
  • Helped the team secure two major titles

Aubaas’ consistent performances have been impressive, and his ability to read the game has been invaluable to Sundowns’ success. As he continues to grow and develop, Supporters can expect even more from this talented midfielder in the future.
Thembinkosi “Nyoso” Lorch #45
© Samuel ShivambuSince joining Mamelodi Sundowns in January 2024, Thembinkosi Lorch has made a significant impact on the team. His first-ever goal for the Brazilians came in the group stage of the CAF Champions League against FC Nouadhibou in February.

A month later, he hammered a brace against Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup Round of 16, as well as scoring against Stellenbosch in the semifinal of the competition. His first league goal came in Sundowns’ 3-0 win over TS Galaxy.
Overall, Nyoso featured in 20 games across the DSTV Premiership, CAF Champions League, and Nedbank Cup, scoring 6 goals.

Lorch summed up his thoughts after a vibrant start to his Sundowns career: “It feels good to win the PSL trophy for the first time. I also enjoyed playing the CAF Champions League games and even though we feel disappointed that we could not win it, I feel we learned many lessons that will help us ahead of next season. I am excited for the upcoming campaign because it will be my first full season, and I am looking to showcase my talent whenever I am called upon.”

On what he plans to do during the holiday break, “I’m planning to recover and get ready for next season. I'll spend time with family and friends, recharge, and reflect on my first season with the Club. This break will also be an opportunity to set new goals and prepare mentally and physically for next season. My goal is to help the team win every competition we participate in.”

Matías Eduardo Esquivel #9
© Sydney MahlanguEsquivel’s delicious free-kick against La Masia in the Nedbank Cup was a perfect way to announce his name to the Yellow Nation supporters. The game ended 6-1 in favor of Bafana Ba Style and Esquivel’s free-kick was a top trend in mainstream social media for months.

His mesmerising left-footed mazy run and finish in the 5-1 victory over Chiefs was another memorable highlight of his great start to life with the club.
Having joined the Club in January 2024, the 25-year-old Argentine featured in 13 games across the DSTV Premiership, Champions League, and Nedbank Cup, scoring 2 goals.

As Esquivel continues to settle into the team, his future at Sundowns looks bright. With his skills and the Club’s winning DNA, he is expected to play a key role in Sundowns’ quest for domestic and continental success next season.

Thapelo Maseko #33
© Muzi NtombelaThapelo Maseko, the talented young forward, has made a significant impact at Mamelodi Sundowns since joining the Club in June 2023. Born on November 11, 2003, the 20-year-old has already shown his potential as a future star.

Maseko played a crucial role in Sundowns’ historic win in the inaugural African Football League in 2023, scoring the decisive goal in the semi-final against Al Ahly. His impressive performances earned him the Top Scorer and Best Player Awards in the competition.

As one of the most exciting young talents on the continent, Maseko represents the present and future of Mamelodi Sundowns. His youthful energy and skills have already made a significant impact, and fans can expect even more from this rising star in the seasons to come.

Season Highlights:

  • Played a fundamental role in Sundowns’ historic African Football League win, including the decisive goal in the semi-final against Al Ahly
  • Top Scorer and Best Player in the African Football League
  • Men’s Most Promising Player at the Inaugural COSAFA Awards
Lesiba William Nku #7
© Muzi NtombelaLesiba Nku delivered a superb brace in his debut game for Sundowns in the 4-0 PSL victory over Golden Arrows in August 2023. Since then, the versatile South African attacker has become a valuable asset to the team. His key strikes against Royal AM and Stellenbosch FC all proved crucial as Bafana Ba Style enjoyed a record-breaking league campaign.

Nku’s adaptability has also been impressive, playing in various positions across the midfield, defense and attack. The attacker has played 1000 minutes across all competitions with a 6-goal contribution.

Season Highlights:
  • 28 games played across all competitions
  • 6 goals scored

His contribution, as with all the players, was instrumental in Sundowns’ success, helping the team win the African Football League and DSTV Premiership titles. With his impressive debut season, Nku has established himself as a key player for Sundowns, and his future at the club looks bright.
Zuko Mdunyelwa #44
As the Club's first signing in the 2023/24 mid-season transfer window, Zuko expressed his determination to repay the faith the Club vested in him. The talented and intelligent defender has since become an integral part of the team, featuring in all competitions: the PSL, Nedbank Cup, and CAF Champions League.

Mdunyelwa enjoyed a solid start at Sundowns, playing in three different competitions in his first three games: the Nedbank Cup Round of 32 (a 6-1 victory over MM Platinum), a CAF Champions League match against Nouadhibou (a 2-0 win), and the 3-0 victory over AmaZulu. All three games ended in victories.

Since then, he has become one of the team's most dependable defenders and will continue to be a vital asset for the team in the upcoming season.