Striking pair closing in on Nomvethe’s PSL scoring record

Peter Shalulile in action for Mamelodi Sundowns. File photo

There are two strikers in the South African topflight who are hunting down Siyabonga Nomvethe’s Premier Soccer League record of 123 goals … and they are getting close.

Mamelodi Sundowns forward Peter Shalulile and cross-town rivals Bradley Grobler at SuperSport United are both within striking distance, and could conceivably reach their target this season, though they would need a purple patch of form.

Shalulile has 113 goals for topflight clubs Highlands Park and Sundowns, putting him already second on the all-time list, 10 behind Nomvethe.

He has had a quite campaign by his standards with nine goals in all competitions, but with Sundowns having potentially 26 more games to play in term, he should have plenty of chances to break the record, if he can stay injury-free.

That has been an issue for him in the recent past, with niggling issues limiting his game-time a bit, but he looks to be fit again for the second half of the campaign.

His goals have come in 214 starts, though if you include his strikes for Highlands Park in South Africa’s second tier then he has 133 in local football in all since he arrived in the country as a raw left-sided forward in 2015.

Shalulile’s tally of PSL goals has come in six-and-a-half seasons in the topflight, but Grobler is now in his 16th season in the South African elite league.

On Friday he joined an exclusive club of PSL centurions when he scored his 100th PSL goal in SuperSport United’s 2-0 victory against Maritzburg United. 

He would have long passed Nomvethe’s record but for three injury-hit seasons between 2016 and 2019 when he managed only an average of nine starts per campaign and netted three goals. He had another period in the 2021/22 campaign when he was out for most of it.

But if you take the other three-and-a-half seasons since 2019 when he has been fit, he has managed a superb 47 goals in the league in that time.

His route to knocking Nomvethe off his perch is tougher with SuperSport having a maximum of 18 games remaining this season in all competitions, with the side unable to get out of their CAF Confederation Cup pool.

Nomvethe scored his final goal in the South African topflight when he netted for AmaZulu against Bloemfontein Celtic in December 2018.

He had just turned 41 years old, and while there is certainly no sign Grobler has retirement on his mind, his injury past makes it unlikely he will play on for another five seasons.

If he does, he may well be targeting 150 goals in South Africa’s elite league.

For 30-year-old Shalulile the chance to go to Europe is likely gone, so it is only a contract in the Middle East that could perhaps take him away from Chloorkop as long as he keeps his form and fitness.

The 150 goal-mark should be a very realistic target for him, having already taken the mantle as leading scorer among foreigners in the PSL when he passed former Mozambique international Tico-Tico, who netted 107 times. –

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