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Shalulile a rare and precious gem

Peter Shalulile of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates goal with teammates during the DStv Premiership 2021/22 match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns on the 25 September 2021 at Orlando Stadium/ Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

In nine starts for Mamelodi Sundowns this season, Shalulile has scored seven goals, but in total he’s scored 29 goals and registered eight assists in 48 appearances for Masandawana.

CREDIT where credit is due! Peter Shalulile is a breath of fresh air to South African football. The form he has shown for the last three seasons speaks volumes about the striker’s humility and eagerness to be better every day.

We are still in the early stages of the PSL campaign but Shalulile has already shown glimpses of being the player to beat for the elite individual accolades.

But, of course, that’s if he remains fully fit.

In nine starts for Mamelodi Sundowns this season, Shalulile has scored seven goals. But if you thought those numbers were crazy, how about the fact that he’s scored 29 goals and registered eight assists in 48 appearances for Masandawana?

This is a player that joined Sundowns just over a year ago, moving from neighbours Highlands Park.

The latter may no longer exist in the top-flight, but they seem to have unearthed one of the most lethal strikers of our time.

Most of us still have egg all over our faces from when we mocked former Highlands Park co-director Larry Brookstone after he claimed that Shalulile is worth R30 million during a radio interview on PowerFM last year.

Of course, he might not have been bought for that figure by Sundowns, who acquired his services alongside Mothobi Mvala from the Lions of the North, but the Namibian must have since seen his price tag sky-rocket since his recent move.

Peter Shalulile of Mamelodi Sundowns warming up during the 2021 MTN8 semifinal 2nd leg match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Pretoria, on 28 September 2021 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Shalulile is that chameleon we all like. Through the various interactions I’ve had with him, he’s always been humble. His answers end with “my brother or my sister”, while his shy demeanour prohibits him from making eye contact.

But after he explained that he constantly tucks in his shirt as a sign of discipline, given the fact that his father was a soldier, it paints a picture of humble beginnings.

And just like in the army, he knows that the script changes on the battlefield.

That’s where his bite comes out, destroying opposition defences with pace, skill and execution.

Often, he’d leave those players mesmerised, but they’d give him credit where it’s due. Last campaign, he scooped the Players’ Player award.

He’s also revered by his teammates. Themba Zwane couldn’t help but sing his praises after he was dethroned as the Footballer of the Season king, while Kermit Erasmus spoke fondly of his eagerness to continue improving in every game.

No doubt there’s always room for Shalulile to keep honing his craft to become a better player. His coaches, Rhulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mngqithi, have pushed him as well, considering that there are sitters that he’s missed.

But Shalulile is a player you can bet on to win you a match any day. Having proved that with the 11-time league champions, he has to wake up the sleeping giant in the shape of the Namibian national team, after their downfall recently.

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