Friends turn Foes: Peter Shalulile relishing battle against Downs colleagues

After concluding 2023 with an impressive tally of 29 goals for both club and country, surpassing renowned players like Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Antoine Griezmann, Peter Shalulile is poised to shine at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, scheduled from January 13 to February 11, 2024.

The Namibian striker lands in Ivory Coast as one of 11 Mamelodi Sundowns players participating in this prestigious continental competition.

“It’s an honor to be part of the squad and play at the AFCON. I’m eagerly anticipating an amazing tournament. Representing my country and competing against some of the best teams in Africa is always exciting. I’m fully committed to giving my best on the field and making our fans proud,” Shalulile expressed to the Mamelodi Sundowns Digital Magazine crew.

Shalulile’s Namibia finds itself in Group E alongside Bafana Bafana, Tunisia and Mali. The clash against South Africa offers ‘Sha Sha’ an opportunity to face several of his club teammates, a prospect that excites Peter.

“It promises to be an exciting match; playing alongside and against your teammates is always a special experience. I believe it will be one of the standout games of the tournament, and we’re fully prepared to face them. On the day, we’ll determine which team emerges as the best. My primary focus is representing my country and friendships with club teammates come after the game,” the striker stated.

Despite battling injuries in 2023, Peter enjoyed a highly successful year and emerged as one of the most crucial players for Banyana Ba Style in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League. The prolific goal poacher netted six goals in the competition and played a vital role in Sundowns’ journey to the semi-finals.

Shalulile also concluded the 2022/23 DStv Premiership campaign as the joint-top goalscorer, with 12 goals to his name. The Sundowns goal machine added five more goals in the Nedbank Cup. In the current season, he has already scored four goals in the league, two in the CAF Champions League, two in the MTN8 and one in the African Football League. With Namibia, he contributed three goals in 2023, all of which came during the qualification matches for the African Cup of Nations.

On April 22, 2023, during the CAF Champions League quarter-final match against CR Belouizdad, Shalulile became the latest player to join the list of prominent players who have scored 100 goals or more in the Premier Soccer League.

The Windhoek-born striker, who is also the Brave Warriors’ all-time leading top goalscorer with 16 goals, had encouraging words for the Namibian fans.

“You know what is happening back home, but we are heading to the competition with a positive mindset. We guarantee you a very good tournament. We hope you come out in numbers to support us and cheer us on, especially on the days we may face challenges. Thanks to the supporters for staying with us throughout the qualification phase and up to this point,” Peter concluded.

Shalulile’s Namibia kicks off their tournament against Tunisia on January 16th, followed by the mammoth clash against South Africa on January 21st. The final game is scheduled against Mali on January 24th.

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