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‘Shalulile is also our first line of defence,’ says Mngqithi as the Namibian chases Mbesuma’s record

Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Peter Shalulile continues to chase the long-standing record of Collins Mbesuma.
Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Peter Shalulile continues to chase the long-standing record of Collins Mbesuma.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Besides banging in the goals, not a lot of football followers have noticed that leading goalscorer Peter Shalulile also contributes a lot to defence for Mamelodi Sundowns.

This point was highlighted by coach Manqoba Mngqithi who praised the Namibian goal-poacher for his extra work in assisting in defence — and this is one of the reasons everybody in the team will be helping Shalulile to break the long-standing PSL golden boot record.

Shalulile is three goals away from breaking Collins Mbesuma’s 16-year record of 25 league goals in a season.

The Namibian striker scored midweek against Sekhukhune United and is on 22 goals.

Sundowns will face struggling Kaizer Chiefs in a league encounter at the FNB Stadium on Sunday.

“Peter is a good boy who is committed to his work and one of the best professionals I’ve worked with,” said Mngqithi.

“He not only scores, he is an important member of our defensive structure. He is our first line of defence and he does what he is expected to do from a high-pressing counter and then what he has to do offensively becomes secondary.

“Sometimes we have to dig deep and if you have a striker who only scores goals it might not help you, but fortunately Peter is focused and all our prayers are with him so that he achieves the unthinkable.

“But we are not going to pile any pressure on him,” Mngqithi added.

“Records are not primary in our thoughts because we do not want to bring unnecessary anxiety to the player. If he scores, he scores and we will help him in whatever way to score.

“The other players are fully behind Peter because he has worked hard. Our plan is to give our best and we support him as much as we can without putting too much pressure on his shoulders because he will start to play for himself and not for the team as such.”

The Sundowns coach is also hoping that Brazilians come in large numbers.

“We hope that the Yellow Nation will come in big numbers to support the team. There is no dead rubber and the technical team and analysts are approaching this game like any other game.

“The pride of the club is at stake and we never want to disappoint our fans. As a team we want to win all remaining games. We also want to better our benchmark and so we are going to give the game the respect it requires.”

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