Zim players strike gold in SA

HARARE - Mamelodi Sundowns’ Zimbabwean trio of Cuthbert Malajila, Khama Billiat and Esrom Nyandoro are on cloud nine after helping the Brazilians clinch the South African Absa Premiership title on Tuesday night.

Peter Ndlovu, the most decorated Zimbabwe international with over 100 caps under his belt and a record 38 goals for his country, is also part of the Pretoria-based side’s technical team in the role of team manager.

Following their title-clinching 3-0 win over SuperSport United on Tuesday night at Loftus Versfeld, Downs amassed 64 points and four ahead of second-placed Kaizer Chiefs.

Malajila, Teko Modise and Surprise Moriri were on target for Pisto Mosimane’s side on the night as they claimed their ninth league title, seven years last wining it in 2006-07.

The Zimbabwean quartet is now in line in line to share with their teammates the R10million prize money for winning the title.

And although he did not feature much this season, former Warriors midfield star Nyandoro picked up his third Super Diski title with the club as he was part of the Brazilians squad that won the championship back in the 2006-07 and the previous season. 

For Malajila and Billiat it was a new experience of winning the Absa Premiership title that had eluded them at their previous clubs, Maritzburg United and Ajax Cape Town respectively.

“This is an exciting time for everyone here at the club,” an elated Malajila told the Daily News yesterday.

“As a professional football you always dream of winning the championship with every team you play for and for me this is a dream come true.

“Even though Kaizer Chiefs had a huge lead over us at one stage, we kept on believing because we knew the league is a marathon and we always had a chance of clawing our way back into contention.”

Despite winning their first league title in six years, there was no time for rest for the Sundowns players as they were back in training yesterday to prepare for their last game of the season against Maritzburg this weekend.

The win over SuperSport took the Brazilians to a record 64 points, which is the biggest points tally that has ever been attained by a Super Diski club since the league adopted a 16-team format in 2002.

Sundowns beat their own record which they set when they reached 61 points to win the 2006-07 title.

Now another win over Maritzburg will stretch Sundowns’ total points tally to an impressive 67 which will be a hard act to follow for all clubs in the future.

“We want to break all records that are there to be broken this season,” Malajila said.

“We have already broken the record for most consistent wins as we now have 10 victories on the trot. If we win our last match we will stretch that record to 11.

“This is the motivation we have going into this last match and that is the reason we didn’t have proper celebrations after winning the league on Tuesday night.

“We want to prepare for that last game without any distractions and finish the season on a high.”

Malajila hailed fellow countrymen Ndlovu and Nyandoro for helping him settle at the club after making the move from Maritzburg at the start of the season.

“I will always be grateful to Peter and Esrom for the way they welcome me at the club. Khama and myself were new at this club and they showed us all the ropes since they know everything here.

“It was a good advantage for the two of us to arrive at this club and find fellow Zimbabweans who taught us the Sundowns way of doing things.”

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