Mamelodi Sundowns’ Squad Origins: Is Their Success Homegrown or Manufactured Elsewhere?

Mamelodi Sundowns’ Squad Origins: Is Their Success Homegrown or Manufactured Elsewhere?

Jarryd Westerdale
updated at December 13, 2023 at 8:31 AM
In this article:
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CAF Champions League
  • Mamelodi Sundowns are the most successful club in recent South African history
  • Masandawana have won the DStv Diski Challenge once since its inception in 2014
  • Players poached from their Tshwane rivals exceed the tally groomed at Chloorkop

Mamelodi Sundowns are the current undisputed pace-setters in South African football. Masandawana are likely to win the title early in 2024 with several games to spare, barring a seemingly impossible collapse.

Is this dominance based on an outstanding conveyor belt of talent nurtured from the ground up, or has Dr Patrice Motsepe's African Rainbow Minerals provided the necessary raw materials?

Mamelodi Sundowns, Peter Shalulile, Khulios Mudau, Thapelo Maseko.
Mamelodi Sundowns players' origins raise the question of whether their success comes from Chloorkop or elsewhere. Photo: @FARPost, @Rushsportson2.
Source: Twitter

The DStv Diski Challenge is a reserve league for top division teams, a league Sundowns have only won once since its inception in 2014.

At the youth development level, the Gauteng Development League (GDL) is the premier youth structure in Sundowns' geographical region, a competition they failed to win in any of the four age groups in 2023.

Sundowns' Under-13 side came second in their division, 10 points behind Kaizer Chiefs while their U15s finished third, 25 points off the junior Amakhosi.

In the older age groups, their U17s finished nine points off Tshwane rivals, Supersport United. Their U19s, the closest to the Diski Challenge and first team squads, finished 10 points off winners, Highlands Park, as per Inqaku.

Sports Brief breaks down the composition of Sundown's squad, referencing the clubs where the players either made their debuts or were purchased from.

Mamelodi Sundowns' squad origins

A breakdown of Sundowns goalkeepers and defenders

Sundowns have the tightest defence in DStv Premiership, conceding just three goals in 10 games. Of those listed in Sundowns' squad on the Multichoice website, no goalkeeper or defender came through the development doors.

Ronwen Williams

SuperSport United

Denis Onyango

Sports Club Villa / SuperSport United

Reyaad Pieterse

Wits University / SuperSport United

Jody February

Cape Town Spurs

Rushine de Reuck

Hellenic / Maritzburg United

Mosa Lebusa

Cape Town Spurs

Brian Onyango

Santos / Maritzburg United

Abdelmounaim Boutouil

FAR Rabat / Raja Casablanca

Terrence Mashego

Mthatha Bucks / TS Galaxy

Grant Kekana

SuperSport United

Khuliso Mudau

Black Leopards

Thapelo Morena

Bloemfontein Celtic

Mothobi Mvala

Highlands Park

Sifiso Ngobeni

Bloemfontein Celtic

Rivaldo Coetzee

Cape Town Spurs

Sundowns' midfield maestros

Creativity, flair and the ability to win matches is a crafted talent honed on the training ground. At his disposal, Rulani Mokwena has a system with interchangeable midfielders and forwards with a diverse skill set.

Mpumelelo Nkomo


Teboho Mokoena

SuperSport United

Lesiba Nku

Polokwane City / Marumo Gallants

Bongani Zungu

University of Pretoria

Gaston Sirino


Marcelo Allende

Deportes Santa Cruz

Junior Mendieta

Stellenbosch FC

Aubrey Modiba

Mpumalanga Black Aces / SuperSport United

Themba Zwane


Bathusi Aubaas

TS Galaxy

Sphelele Mkhulise


Lucas Ribeiro Costa


Sipho Mbule

SuperSport United

Sammy Seabi

Polokwane City

Siyanda Nyanga


Ntandoyenkosi Nkosi


Thapelo Maseko

SuperSport United

Neo Maema

Bloemfontein Celtic

Lebohang Maboe

Maritzburg United

Keabetswe Ramotsei

Cape Town All-Stars

Sundowns' goal scoring goliaths

The technical analysts in the background may disagree but the only stat that matters is the scoreline. Sundowns have mastered this by either grabbing late winners or crushing their opposition throughout 90 minutes.

Gift Motupa

Baroka FC / Wits University

Abubeker Nasser

Ethiopian Buna

Siyabonga Mabena

Transnet School of Excellence

Peter Shalulile

Highlands Park

Only around 15% of Mamelodi Sundowns' first-team squad have come through their development structures.

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Rulani Mokwena explains Pyramids FC troubles

Sports Brief previously reported on Rulani Mokwena explaining the problems he encountered vs Pyramids FC.

The Egyptian visitors were incredibly physical and highly defensive in their goalless draw at the Loftus Stadium.

Mamelodi Sundowns travel to Egypt for the return fixture, needing a win in their CAF Champions League group.

Jarryd Westerdale photo
Jarryd Westerdale
Jarryd Westerdale (based in Johannesburg) joined Sports Brief after four years in the community journalism sphere. He is a two-time Alet Roux Award winner and was a finalist in multiple categories at the Forum of Community Journalism Excellence Awards.
Patrice MotsepeDStv Premiership