From one striker to another: Peter Shalulile has been ’superb’, says Benni McCarthy
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JOHANNEBSBURG - Hard work pays off. Those were the words from AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy, who congratulated Mamelodi Sundowns marksman Peter Shalulile after the pair walked away with the Coach and Player of the Month awards for January/ February.
“I’d like to congratulate Peter – I see him there (on the monitor) – for the Player of the Month award.
Well deserved. You’ve been superb. Continue to do what you do, my man. I love your work. Hard work pays off. Continue to show everyone how it’s done,” McCarthy said.
For some time, Sundowns were regarded as a career-ending club, with many observers bemoaning that players are only signed to warm the bench or kick their heels in the stands.
But enter Pitso Mosimane and that narrative changed as players were played based on merit, not status.
So, when most players in the topflight wanted to associate themselves with the club – considering that Sundowns were also bossing domestic and continental football – Shalulile was no different.
His dream became a reality, joining the Brazilians at the end of last season.
The Namibian has hit the ground running at the star-studded club, making a contribution of 12 goals and five assists in 22 appearances in the post-Mosimane era under by his former deputies Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena.
The impact of Shalulile, who has been a productive out-and-out No 9 has borne immediate fruits. Sundowns are unbeaten and top of the Premiership standings with 36 points.
They are also unbeaten in the Caf Champions League group stage with maximum points after winning their three matches so far.
Shalulile scored the opening goal against the DRC’s TP Mazembe at the Stade TP Mazembe on Saturday, taking his tally to three goals and one assist in five matches in his maiden Champions League campaign.
But the 27-year-old striker is still not getting carried away, saying that giving his all has been his drive.
“I come from a military family. It’s more a thing of being humble and disciplined at all given times. You never know what will happen today,” Shalulile said.
“I always take it as the last day, and that’s why I always give my best because I am not guaranteed tomorrow.”
Just like Shalulile, McCarthy was a deadly striker before swapping his boots for the hot seat in the dugout.
The 43-year-old coach saw his scoring prowess take him to some of the best leagues in the world, including the English Premier League and La Liga.
But there was no guarantee that he would make the best coach.
McCarthy, though, didn’t leave any stone unturned, obtaining the Uefa A Coaching License.
Bafana Bafana’s all-time top goalscorer cut his coaching teeth at Cape Town City before recently joining AmaZulu.
CONGRATULATIONS to @Masandawana striker, Peter Shalulile- the #DStvPrem Player of the Month (13 January- 24 February 2021) winner as voted by a panel of football journalists and analysts. pic.twitter.com/gOJOOUhwXF— Official PSL (@OfficialPSL) March 8, 2021
At Usuthu, McCarthy has brought a breath of fresh air. His scoring instincts must have helped defender Tapelo Xoki, who bagged the Goal of the Month award after scoring a delightful last-gasp winning free-kick against Bloemfontein Celtic in February.
“My whole career was about working hard. It was not about being the most talented player in the room,” McCarthy said.
“And because that worked for me, now I am trying to do that as a coach. With the coaching staff that I have assembled we try to make the players better.”