AmaZulu in elite league to stay
Nomvethe says as long as he’s playing there’s no way Usuthu will be chopped
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.