Shalulile was not involved in a top of the table clash against AmaZulu and guess what, Sundowns could not score and what followed that was a defeat at the hands of Amakhosi.
Mamelodi Sundowns have got a host of stars in their dressing room yet there has been a certain level of reliance on Peter Shalulile, who has been the club’s best signing from the group of players who joined Masandawana ahead of the start of the season.
Not to say Downs have necessarily built a team around the Namibian forward, but have you noticed that Sundowns have never won a game when Shalulile was not involved?
He made his debut in October last year where they lost to Bloemfontein Celtic in the quarterfinal of the MTN8 – but that competition is not one that Sundowns have the best of luck in, so we’ll forgive Shalulile for not putting on a show.
It was in the opening DStv Premiership match where he launched himself in Sundowns colours where he scored the first of many goals that followed, helping Downs beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 at the FNB Stadium. That match gave birth to the deadly trio of himself, Themba Zwane and Kermit Erasmus – but Shalulile has proven to be the most valuable.
Everything was smooth sailing as Downs were sweeping teams aside, picking up some draws along the way. In January Sundowns faced Swallows FC in a tie that pitted two sides that had not suffered defeat in the league at that stage – Shalulile was not available for the match, and Downs played a 1-1 draw.
The second time he was left out of the match-day squad was when Sundowns hosted relegation baffled side Black Leopards where they drew 1-1, seeing the side losing two valuable points against a side they normally get the better of. Fast forward a few weeks, Downs travelled to Sudan to take on Al-Hilal Omdurman in the Caf Champions League and ended failing to score in that tie – the goals were probably up in the stands with Shalulile.
Last month, Shalulile was not involved in a top of the table clash against AmaZulu and guess what, Sundowns could not score and what followed that was a defeat at the hands of Amakhosi, losing 2-1 in a result that saw them suffer their first defeat of the season in the league. Bafana Ba Style went on to draw blanks against Golden Arrows and no prizes for guessing if Shalulile was playing or not.
It is understandable why co-head coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena heavily rely on the 27-year-old, but they might need to find other ways to score goals without him as Pitso Mosimane’s Al-Ahly side are understood to be quite keen on landing the Namibian.