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Mamelodi Sundowns, one of South Africa’s most prominent football clubs, faced yet another heartbreak in the 2023 MTN8 final, losing to Orlando Pirates.

Mamelodi Sundowns
Mamelodi Sundowns fullback Khuliso Mudau battles with Orlando Pirates star attacker Patrick Maswanganyi during the 2023 MTN8 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

This defeat marked a record that no other team in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era can match – five times in the Top 8 final, and five times they returned without lifting the trophy.

The Bridesmaids of South African Football

Mamelodi Sundowns has earned the unenviable reputation of being the bridesmaids of South African football when it comes to the top 8 competition.

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Year after year, they have reached the final, only to come up short.

A Decade of Near Misses For Mamelodi Sundowns: The Early Stumbles (2001, 2002)

In the early years of the PSL era, Sundowns made their first appearances in the top 8 final in 2001 and 2002.

Both times, they fell short of claiming the trophy, setting a pattern of near misses that would haunt them in the years to come.

A Glimpse of Victory (2021)

After nearly two decades of final defeats, Sundowns finally tasted victory in the MTN8 competition in 2021.

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It was a moment of redemption as they lifted the trophy, giving their fans hope that the curse had been broken.

The Unfortunate Reversal (2008, 2016)

However, the joy of victory in 2021 is overshadowed by their shortcomings in the competition, as Sundowns found themselves in the final again in 2008 and 2016.

Unfortunately, history repeated itself, and they were unable to secure the title on both occasions.

The 2023 Heartbreak For Mamelodi Sundowns 

The most recent heartbreak for Sundowns came in 2023 when they faced Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 final.

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Despite their best efforts, they once again ended up on the losing side, extending their record to five final defeats in the PSL era.

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