Author: Erica MathyeMamelodi Sundowns found themselves basking in the afterglow of yet another memorable Premier Soccer League (PSL) season, after completing a record-breaking campaign.
The league was wrapped up on the 24th match day, courtesy of a commanding 5-1 away victory over Kaizer Chiefs. Masandawana went on to finish a staggering 23 points ahead of second-placed Orlando Pirates. Overall, their spirit was admirable, as were their victories, showcasing an undeniable excellence at every turn. The win, marked the 7th League Title in a row and 14th overall, cementing Mamelodi Sundowns’ success in the PSL.
Never before has a South African top-flight side accomplished what the Brazilians did this season. Without question, the Mamelodi Sundowns class of 2023/24 will be remembered as one of the best teams to ever grace the South African top-flight football scene. They achieved this by playing fantastic football under the guidance of Coach Rulani Mokwena.
As the Tshwane giants draw the curtain on a remarkable 2023/24 season, Coach Rulani – whose contract has been extended by four years – reflected on the triumphant campaign, marked by few blips. He recounted their journey from the challenging pre-season preparations to their impressive performance throughout the fixture-heavy season which saw them play 57 games — nine more than the previous season. with little to no lows, from the time they were preparing for the most difficult season during the pre-season.
“Ending the season with only one trophy was extremely disappointing but I think the new four-year contract from the Club was a demonstration of their trust and belief in my abilities to lead the team. That already gave me a big responsibility that we had to do better than the season before. So, when this season began, the unwritten objectives and targets as per our Football Club, was to win every single match and title,” said Coach Rulani.
According to the technocrat Coach the contract renewal ahead of the 2023/24 season, symbolized new beginnings and an opportunity to rewrite history for him and his charges. With the possibility of clinching more titles, Masandawana went on to make history and become the first-ever title holder of the African Football League (AFL). Furthermore, they recorded their seventh successive title and fourteenth in the top flight, which is a notable achievement.
“At the beginning of the season which is part of the four-year process, we aimed to surpass the previous year by winning at least two trophies. The AFL was our top priority and we set specific targets for each competition. History will surely reflect fondly on Mamelodi Sundowns’ relationship with the AFL, as it was an incredible achievement and our main objective for the season," Coach Rulani reflected.

"The league title also holds immense significance for the Football Club, supporters, and players. Winning seven league titles in a row is a feat that will be almost impossible to repeat, symbolizing our Club's legacy. I believe we have achieved exceptional success," he continued.

“The Champions League was also a very important mandate and we wanted to go beyond the semifinals because in the previous year, we had only reached the semis. In retrospect, when you look at where we ended this season and playing in the semifinals back-to-back, you understand that it is something that we should be proud of. We wanted to reach the final and have a chance to lift the trophy but making it to the semifinals back-to-back for the first time in the Club’s history, is an incredible and notable achievement,” he stated.
“There is, however, a deep sense of disappointment in my heart because we got so close to achieving Invincibles status and needed just one more game to get it right. We came so close in the MTN8 but lost in penalties. We got equally close in the Nedbank Cup and lost. I see these as marginal losses, but they are part of our progress. Bringing home two of the most important trophies can be marked as a success, but a success we know we can exceed. We understand that although it's good, it's not good enough for our club,” he continued.
The Masandawana coach revealed what stood out for him in the just concluded season.
“It has to be the players as they have helped me to be a better person and coach. I think the mentality of our players has been phenomenal. They have invested so much and they have worked extremely hard to elevate their game and to get the Club to a level where we can be proud of our performances and results,” coach Rulani highlighted.
“If I were to grade our team, I would probably say six out of ten because I think we have got so much more in us. We were not consistent enough to show exceptional performances. From a technical and tactical perspective, even though there have been big improvements, I still think we have a lot of work to do. However, I am immensely proud of this group.”
What’s next for the 14-time league champions?
With the season having come to a good end, players have been granted an opportunity to not only rest but to reflect on both their individual and group performances. They ought to follow in the footsteps of their leader, Coach Rulani, who looks to always improve himself and the team. The coach highlighted that to have an even more successful season in the 2024/25 season, every single one of them will need to do the work.

“There’s a lot of introspection that must be done in our evolution and our evolution is important. We must be a team that is constantly evolving, improving, changing and becoming less predictable. It’s very important for big teams. This is how you sustain the level, by not just moving further and further from the opponent but also challenging yourselves to improve,” said coach Rulani.

“We are happy with the evolution and progress we are making and we now have to get to a stage where we can be able to win the Champions League, the DStv Premiership, the AFL – even with the amount of travelling – the Carling Knockout Cup, the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup. We know the challenges that await us for the next season but even in those challenges, we want to develop, improve and do better than we did this season. That’s the mentality we must carry through to the next season,” he continued.

“It’s very important that we continue to want to be better, not only regarding the trophies that we earn but also the relationships that we build with each other. We want to be a Club that appreciates the sense of family because that’s what the Motsepe family is about. It’s also important that we continue to have a unique way of playing and representing our feelings about the game and everything we try to invest in the game. We want to be able to demonstrate a sense of togetherness and fight to win each match every time we are on the pitch, so I continue to ask for the supporters for their love and support and for them to demand more from us because there must be demands placed on us so that we become better and we can improve,” he concluded.

  • Longest unbeaten run in a single season in the PSL, 29 games unbeaten.
  • Went unbeaten for 631 days since Coach Rulani’s reign as an individual coach.
  • Achieved eight league doubles (both home and away matches) against eight opponents.
  • Most points acquired in a 30-game season, completing the season with 73 points.
  • The least goals conceded (11).
  • Coach Rulani received three DStv Premiership Coach of the Month accolades, more than any other coach.
  • Lucas Ribeiro finished as the Club’s top league goal scorer with 12 goals. Ronwen Williams broke his record (18) of clean sheets in the league, keeping 20 clean sheets this season.
  • Ended the season 23 points clear of second-placed team, the biggest gap between champion & runner-up in PSL top-flight history.
  • Scored 52 goals and conceded just 11, setting a new top-flight record for the best goal difference by a team at the end of a single 30-game season with +41.
  • Set the top-flight record of 53 games unbeaten with 40 wins and 13 draws.
  • Ended the season unbeaten away from home with 11 wins and 4 draws.