Mamelodi Sundowns take delivery of one-off Subbuteo pitch

South African side Mamelodi Sundowns are one of biggest clubs on the continent and they have made another groundbreaking move with the introduction of a one-off Subbuteo pitch.

The table-toppers have taken delivery of a Subbuteo pitch to be used for training purposes, following the likes of the England national team and Manchester City in using Subbuteo as a tactical tool.

The pitch was revealed by the ETS Subbuteo Club and was designed by SA Bases, whose custom pitches have caught our eye before. They said: “It’s not every day that you get to meet South African premier league teams. Yet alone the league leaders and I’m sure this seasons champs. In the picture is reserve team coach Shawn Bishop. Even got to meet legendary player Surprise Moriri.”

We asked them how the unique pitch came about and where it will be used.

They say: “A couple of weeks ago a friend and former team mate and coach of mine approached me to find out how he can get one of our Subbuteo table sets for his training ground at Mamelodi Sundowns. I immediately picked up the phone and called him to tell him that we can customise a pitch for him and would get Gary Downs from SA Bases to draw up a few pitch samples with the Club’s branding.

“Mamelodi Sundowns are one of the most successful Professional Football Clubs in South Africa and Africa and have a large training base in Johannesburg and a second base in Pretoria. Shawn Bishop has been at Sundowns for about ten years now and was an academy coach. He later went on to be the Assistant National Under 20 coach and is currently in charge of the Sundown’s Reserve side which is made up mainly of his Youth Academy players from Under 15 to Under 18.

“Shawn coaches the Reserves in a morning in Johannesburg and the Academy in the afternoons at Pretoria, so the board will be well used. The pitch was delivered to their training base and will be used at the Pretoria facility for now and he has already hinted on the need for more, with specific zoned areas been printed on the pitches.

“Now with the aid of Subbuteo player figures and a set of opponents, the players will understand their roles in various on field situations a lot easier. It could possibly be the first tactical board of its kind in South Africa across all of our Professional Clubs and could open up the door for some additional sales for SA Bases. Well done to Gary Downs for his dedication to getting the set done in a record 2 weeks, which included the painting of the two teams.”

Congrats to everybody involved and good luck to Sundowns for their title challenge.

Stephen Hurrell
Stephen Hurrell
Stephen is the founder and editor of The Hobby Online and The Hobby by Subbuteo.Online print magazine. He is a giant nerd and specialises in Subbuteo, retro football kits and consumer stories. A journalist and editor of 15 years, he has written about football for some of the UK's biggest publications.

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