AmaZulu in elite league to stay

Nomvethe says as long as he’s play­ing there’s no way Usuthu will be chopped

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MINENHLE MKHIZE

VET­ERAN striker Siyabonga Nomvethe is adamant that AmaZulu are not go­ing to be rel­e­gated de­spite the club’s poor dis­play at the KZN Premier’s Cup in Richards Bay at the week­end.

AmaZulu were hum­bled by the ABC Mot­sepe League cham­pi­ons UThon­gathi FC in the seven team tour­na­ment. Usuthu lost 2-1 at Umh­lathuze Sports Com­plex on Satur­day.

The Na­tional First Di­vi­sion (NFD) out­fit Royal Ea­gles went on to lift the tro­phy af­ter thump­ing La­montville Golden Ar­rows 3-0 on penal­ties.

AmaZulu will be cam­paign­ing in top flight foot­ball next sea­son af­ter they bought the Absa Pre­mier­ship sta­tus of Thanda Royal Zulu who won the NFD ti­tle.

While a lot of their fans came out in num­bers ea­ger to wit­ness Usuthu in ac­tion, the for­mer KZN giants dis­ap­pointed.

While he ac­knowl­edged their fail­ing, Nomvethe said it would be folly to read too much into that: “We can’t be judged by our dis­play in the pre-sea­son tour­na­ment. You can’t claim to be the best by win­ning pre-sea­son tour­na­ments.”

But AmaZulu lost to a team in a di­vi­sion lower to them. Surely that is a sign they will strug­gle in the elite league?

“Of course our boys didn’t give a good ac­count of them­selves,” he ad­mit­ted “And it is all up to the coach and us as se­nior play­ers to mo­ti­vate the young boys.

“They were very slug­gish and they didn’t show any en­thu­si­asm and I don’t why. “

But he is­sued a stern warning: “AmaZulu will not get rel­e­gated, and that should be clear to every­one. They will not go down. As long as I’m still play­ing, this team will not get rel­e­gated.”

A pro­lific scorer through­out his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer that saw him turn out for all of Kaizer Chiefs, Or­lando Pi­rates and Moroka Swal­lows as well as hav­ing played in the Ital­ian Serie A and in Swe­den, Nomvethe is go­ing to be one of the Pre­mier­ship’s old­est play­ers as he turns 40 in De­cem­ber.

He clearly be­lieves he still has it in him to run rings around op­po­si­tion de­fences though. Hav­ing last played in the top league when he was with Swal­lows who got rel­e­gated three sea­sons ago, the for­mer Bafana Bafana striker is ex­cited at the op­por­tu­nity to mix it up at the high­est level once again.

“It is nice to be back in top flight foot­ball. It was re­ally awe­some to hear the news of AmaZulu re­turn­ing to Pre­mier­ship.”

Can the fans ex­pect to see him bang­ing in the goals like he used to?

“My goal is to per­form for the club. I don’t want to set tar­gets. Ev­ery­thing will fall into place. Set­ting goals comes with ex­pec­ta­tions. I don’t want to get de­jected If it hap­pens that I can’t ac­com­plish my tar­gets.”

Only ma­tu­rity gets a player speak­ing that way.

“My duty is make sure that I con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to the club’s suc­cess. I want to make sure that AmaZulu are in the right po­si­tion come the end of the sea­son,” he ex­plained.

With the big 40 ap­proach­ing are re­tire­ment thoughts swirling in his head?

“(Play­ing) Foot­ball is the gift God gave me. My legs will tell me when it is time to stop. My per­for­mances will also de­ter­mine how long can I go.”’

The man who was part of the first SA team to play at the Olympics in 2000 is tied with Mamelodi Sun­downs’ Daniel Mu­dau as the all-time lead­ing Pre­mier­ship scor­ers with 105 goals and is hun­gry to be the sole leader.

“I‘d love to add to my tally. My job as striker is to score goals and I’ll work hard to achieve that.” OLD MAN’S GAME: Turn­ing 40 in De­cem­ber, Siyabonga Nomvethe, now play­ing for AmaZulu, is set to be one of the old­est play­ers in Absa Pre­mier­ship his­tory. He will hope, how­ever, that age will have lit­tle bear­ing on his goal-scor­ing prow­ess when the league kicks off next month.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.