Author: John AliuIt’s been a meteoric rise to stardom for Peter Shalulile. The Namibian striker, fondly known for his tucked in shirt and spring-stepped celebration, recorded an incredible first season at Mamelodi Sundowns that saw him land both the 2020/21 PSL Player of the Season and Players' Player awards. The Bafana Ba Style goal-scorer also narrowly missed out on the Golden Boot award after finishing in second place with 15 goals scored. To have performed so well in his debut season is a sign of good things to come.Born in Windhoek (Namibia), Shalulile developed a passion for football at a very young age. He is a product of Tura Magic FC in his home country, a club he joined when they were campaigning in the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Khomas second division. Remarkably, he helped the team gain promotion to the Namibia Premier Football League in the 2011/12 season. From there on, his career has been on an upward trajectory as he was also part of the National team side that won the COSAFA Cup in 2015.

In the last few seasons, he has become one of the most lethal finishers in South Africa. The Namibian forward finished the 2019/20 season as joint-top goalscorer after bagging 16 goals. His knack for scoring goals caught the attention of the Brazilians and prompted Mamelodi Sundowns to capture his services, arriving to Chloorkop with Mothobi Mvala from Highlands Park. Since that move, he has flourished and has become a prominent feature in the starting eleven.

The Mamelodi Sundowns Digital Magazine crew linked up with the goal-machine to review his first season at Chloorkop.
© Gavin Barker / BackpagePixMamelodi Sundowns (MS): How would you sum up your first season at the club?
Peter Shalulile (PS): I understood the pressures that came with signing for such a big club that is well supported and has won countless trophies. I am glad that it turned out to be a blessing. So far, it has been an amazing journey and I’m looking forward to achieving more success with the club. I have had several fond moments in my first season at Sundowns and winning the DSTV Premiership Player of the Season was the cherry on top. It was such an amazing feeling.
MS: The pandemic prevented supporters from attending games last season. How did you and your teammates boost the motivation levels in the squad?
PS: It was not easy going to games without the presence of our cheering supporters. There is simply nothing anyone could have done as the pandemic affected everyone across the globe. As we speak, we are still battling the pandemic. We were determined to keep our supporters happy by winning games and we did just that. As a team, we stayed focused and I believe we made our supporters proud despite their inability to be in the stands. I must also commend the coaches and our Chairman, Mr. Tlhopie Motsepe, for their efforts in keeping us motivated both on and off-the-pitch. In the absence of supporters, their words of encouragement boosted our confidence, and we were always ready to make everyone proud.
MS: What aspect of training or coaching has helped you improve as a Sundowns player?
PS: This has a lot to do with the winning mentality. This is a club that has a winning culture with an excellent technical team and players. When I arrived at Chloorkop, I knew I had to change my mindset and think like a winner. When you play with talented players and train under elite coaches, you will improve as a player.
MS: Which sports icon has influenced you the most?
PS: It has always been Cameroon’s legend Samuel Eto’o. I met him at the Mamelodi Sundowns 50th anniversary gala dinner where I got the opportunity to interact with him. We took pictures that I have framed and those memories will remain with me for life. I have always looked up to him because of his exploits during his playing days. He continues to be an inspiration.
MS: As a footballer, what drives you to work hard every day when you wake up?
PS: One thing that drives me is the quest to win the Ballon d'Or Award. I keep telling people that it is possible to win that award. I am not one to shy away from challenges because the people who are winning them are humans, therefore if they can win it, I can also clinch it someday. Whenever I wake up, the quest to win is what keeps me going. I keep saying that I am not a complete player and that is why I have said before that South Africa is yet to see the best of me.
MS: What challenges did you come across in getting to where you are today?
PS: It has not been easy to get to this level, people don’t know how tough it has been. I have battled with injuries in the past. It’s challenging and hurts when I’m unable to play due to injuries but these things always happen for a reason and at the right time it all comes together. With prayer, hard work and persistence, I have been able to keep fit and surmount those challenges that have shaped me into the person that I am today.
MS: What other sport(s) do you love to play, and how would you rate your skills?
PS: I have a deep love for athletics with a special interest in the marathon. I adore the legendary, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya because he has put Africa on the map with his blistering speed. He is a true legend of the sport.
MS: What are your goals for this season?
PS: To retain the league title, win the CAF Champions League title and continue contributing to the team’s on-pitch success.
The Namibian striker has already gotten off the mark this season and will be looking to build on his maiden campaign success with Mamelodi Sundowns.
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