Sundowns was established in the early 1960s by a group of youngsters residing in and around Marabastad in Pretoria (Tshwane).
The club mentions the following individuals as part of the young-stars who established it in the 1960s: Frank “ABC” Motsepe, Roy Fischer, Ingle Singh and Bernard Hartze.
The club joined the Federation of Professional Soccer League in 1967, a year in which it “reached the finals of the Coca Cola Cup in an eight goal thriller, losing 5-3 to Berea United.”
Sundowns was relegated to the second division of the National Professional Soccer League in 1980. The club stayed in the second division for five years only to bounce back in 1985 with the entry of Mr Cool (Zola Mahobe).
The flamboyant Zola Mahobe bought Sundowns in 1985 and immediately worked his charm to inspire the club to the second division league and earn a promotion to the first division.
Mamelodi Sundowns players celebrate a goal which helped them beat Zamalek 3 – 1 to win Africa’s Champions League
With Mr Cool in control and working his magic the club rose to glory. In 1986 Sundowns claimed its first major cup, Mainstay Cup, since it’s return to top flight by beating Jomo Cosmos 1-0.
Sundowns had turned red hot by 1987 and had won BP Top Eight, JPS Cup and the Castle League Championships.
The latter success was attributed to Zola Mahobe who was dripping cash following the fraudulent escapades he mastered with his girlfriend, Snowy Moshoeshoe.
In May 1986 Zola Mahobe sent tongues wagging when he took all Sundowns players and their partners to an all-expenses paid trip to the FA Cup Final in London.
Zola Mahobe is said to have spent about R2m in boosting Sundowns in his first two years of owning the club. He paid top dollar to acquire talented players and rewarded them with expensive gifts including BMWs.
The arrest of Zola Mahobe in 1988 spelled a mini disaster for the high flying Sundowns. Standard Bank, which was at the receiving end of the Mahobe/Moshoeshoe heist, took ownership of Sundown in 1988.
Then came the Krok brothers who bought the club from Standard Bank. They were later joined by Angelo and Natasha Tsichlas.
Sundowns bounced back in spectacular fashion in the post 1994 era to claim seven league titles. The first league winning streak started in 1996 with the club coming on top for three years in a row.
Patrice Motsepe bought into Sundowns in 2003 to partner the Tsichlas. He increased his stake from 51% to 100% in 2004 and renamed the club ‘Mamelodi’ Sundowns.
The renaming of the club to Mamelodi Sundowns is described by the club as “a nod to its heritage in Atteridgeville, Eersterus and Laudium and the club’s home in Mamelodi.”
Motsepe’s magic prevailed as early as 2005 with the club winning the league for two seasons in a row (2005/06 and 2006/07). Sundowns also claimed the league in the 2013/14 under the stewardship of local coach Pitso Mosemane who then delivered the 2016 Champions League victory.
Patrice Motsepe has always wanted the continental glory. He came after Sundowns had in 2001 advanced to the final of the CAF Champions League and lost to Egyptian footballing giant Al-Ahly. The 3 – 1 win over another Egyptian giant Zamalek is too sweet for words.
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