If there is someone who does not need to watch videos of Peter Shalulile to get an idea of how brilliant the Namibian striker is, it is Owen Da Gama. The TS Galaxy head coach knows the Mamelodi Sundowns striker very well, having spent about three years with him at Highlands Park.
Da Gama says he will take no chances as he plots for a rare occasion where Shalulile is kept quiet the whole game. Galaxy face Sundowns this Sunday in the DStv Premiership and Da Gama knows that if his team are to stand a chance against Masandawana, one of the things they’d need to do is to reduce the reigning Footballer of the Season to a spectator… if he gets selected by Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena.
“You’ve got to plan for Peter. He proved last season that he is the best. He single handedly won games for Sundowns, scoring in 1-0 and 2-0 wins. Sundowns are the type of team that once they score the first goal, it motivates them and it gives them so much encouragement and it is not easy to come back against them,” said Da Gama.
“We understand his qualities and whether we can stop him or not, it is a different question but we will certainly give it our best shot and we will work very hard. From a tactical perspective, we will need to get this one right,” he added.
While Da Gama is scratching his head to find a way to tame Downs’ attack, he also has to deal with his own frontline, as he is quite spoilt for choice when it comes to strikers. He has Mxolisi Machupu, Augstine Kwem, Mohammed Anas and Tsheghofatso Nyama to choose from.
“I’ve got a serious selection problem with the strikers because any two of them can play – unfortunately Kwem had a bit of an injury last week but he is back now. The new players have got to find their feet, they need to understand how we play and we have to understand how best to utilise their strengths in the team. It is all a process but it is a very nice headache to have,” said Da Gama, who went on to moan about his players’ inconsistency where motivation is concerned.
The Rockets’ mentor accused his players of only showing up when they face giants and removing their foot off the pedal when they come across lightweights.
“They have to be consistent, they must raise their game when they play against the smaller teams and that has been the problem at Galaxy. You play a fantastic game against Kaizer Chiefs and then you play such a bad game against Stellenbosch. It is like an anticlimax, so we have to be very careful of these situations, but it is much easier to motivate them when they play Sundowns or any other big team.”