The Incumbent: Tiyani Mabunda (30 years old)
Mabunda’s rise from being loaned out and playing in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge, to being a pivotal component in Sundowns’ midfield, should be an example for the entire squad and for players, young and old, in the PSL. He is now 30 years old and should still be a very good option over the next 18 months, but the side does need to be looking at the future, as with Mabunda and Manyisa both in their 30s and Kekana already 33, the engine room could suddenly lack mobility and dynamism.
The Successor: Andile Jali (28 years old)
This past off-season, Sundowns brought in Andile Jali on a five-year contract. He is now 28 years old and, whilst only two years younger than options like Mabunda and Manyisa, he brings back European experience and a point to prove. In recent games, he has looked in better physical condition after minimal game time in Belgium before his contract ended, and is slowly getting back to full match fitness. At his best, he would be pushing to start for Bafana and become one of the best central midfielders in the PSL.
Verdict: Sundowns bulked up this area of their squad with Jali in June and with Ndlovu joining at the end of this season. With five op- tions for three positions next season, Mosimane will be able to rotate his veterans in midfield and keep them all fresh, with younger, enthusiastic Ndlovu alongside them to do some of their running.