AmaZulu F.C.

AmaZulu Football Club (Simply often known as AmaZulu) is a South African professional Soccer club based in the city of Durban in the KwaZulu Natal province, that plays in the Premier Soccer League the first-tier of South African football league system. The club's nickname, Usuthu, is a Zulu war cry.

AmaZulu Football Club
AmaZulu logo.svg
Nickname(s)Usuthu, Amaqhawe (Heroes)
Founded1932; 90 years ago (1932), (as Zulu Royals)
GroundKings Park Stadium, Durban
Capacity52,000
ChairmanSandile Zungu
CoachBenni McCarthy
LeagueDStv Premiership
2020–212nd of 16
WebsiteClub website
The old logo of AmaZulu F.C. before 2009.

HistoryEdit

Early History (1932–1973)Edit

One of the oldest clubs in South Africa, AmaZulu was formed by Zulu migrant workers in 1932 and originally named Zulu Royal Conquerors. The club was then introduced to then Zulu king Solomon, who changed the team's name to Zulu Royals, their colours to royal blue and white, and also introduced the shield to their logo.[1]

Initially Prince Bayisikili was placed as the team guardian at eMsizini and later replaced by Prince Sithela and the team's headquarter was at the eMbelebeleni Royal Kraal by then the team colours had changed to bottle green and white. On the day of King Bhekizulu's funeral in the year 1968, the team went to play a Cup game against SAPPI Homestars at eMandeni, which they lost 4–2. On the day of the funeral the club was supposed to escort the King's coffin but Mr. Shezi, Mr. Nsele, Mr. Magwaza ended up escorting the King wearing the team's uniform.[1]

After that game an argument had broken up between the supporters of the club because some of them including Prince Sithela criticized the fact that, how could the team play a game on the day of the funeral of the Zulu King, when the team was supposed to mourn the King's death. The continuation of the argument led to Mr Gideon Sibiya and Mr. Ntuli who accompanied the club to eMandeni decided to take the club away from eMbelebeleni to eWema and then it was no longer recognized at the eMbelebeleni Royal Kraal.[1]

At the end of 1970 the remaining committee members consisting of Mr Mkhize and Mr Ralph Mabaso decided to rebuild the team from scratch, recruited players, acquired a kit and appointed Mr Bethuel Masondo as the team manager. The committee went on to register the club as Zulu Royals United and Mr. Bethuel Masondo was the sole director. They decided to take the team back to eMbelebeleni Royal Kraal as its headquarters.[1]

In 1971 a team called African Wanderers which was located in Kwa-Zulu Natal were experiencing problems while playing in the National Professional League (NPSL) which led the NPSL to take a decision that the Kwa-Zulu Natal Football Association must suspend African Wanderers from the NPSL and then recommend another team from Kwa-Zulu Natal to replace them. The Kwa-Zulu Natal Football Association then recommended the following teams: Union Jacks, Durban City All Black, Zulu Royals United Directors or Young Dribblers.[1]

The National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) at that time chairman, Mr RD Sishi, decided that Zulu Royal's United must replace African Wanderers in the NPSL because Zulu Royals was a team which represented the Zulu Nation from the Royal Kraal and that it has a support base more than the clubs that were recommended.[1]

In 1971 Zulu Royals replaced African Wanderers and went on to finish 6th on the log and were voted club of the year. The following year in 1972 the club won the N.P.S.L league title securing 44 points from 26 matches and only losing 2 games.[1]

In 1973 Zulu Royal suffered a huge set back when the then manager Mr. Bethwell Masondo left the club and took with him several prominent players which split the club. After this unfortunate incident the club went into a mid-season slump that would see them not being able to successful defend their league title. In 1974, the running of the club was taken over by the supporters and in the same year, the team changed to AmaZulu Football Club. Some supporters led by Mr. Francis Dlamini who managed the reserve team decided to part ways with the reserve team to Bhekizulu hall and renamed back Zulu Royals United and its nickname were esikotshi".[1] Other Directors that followed were Mr, Manana and Mr. Nxumalo who bought the team for R 4000.00, Mr. Merikan Madlala from Lamontville, then followed a committee made of Mr. Ngongoma, Mr. Duma, Mr. Mathe, Mr. Dlamini, Mr. Biyela and Nhleko.

The Formation of the NSL and Name Changes (1985–2002)Edit

In 1985 the National Soccer League was formed and AmaZulu entered a new phase of their history under the leadership of Mr. David Dlamini.[1] In 1987, Clive Barker coached AmaZulu FC to finals of mainstay Cup and Iwisa Charity Cup, where they were narrowly defeated twice by Kaizer Chiefs. In 1990 the club reached the Bob Save Super Bowl final which they lost with a last minute goal against Jomo Cosmos, in 1992 the club won the inauguration Coca-Cola Cup and finished 3rd on the log in 1993.[1]

After Mr. Dlamini then followed Spar Natal, Mr. Ncanana, Mr. Dan Naidoo, Mr. Mike Segal, Mr. Dave King after him was Mr Sisa Bikisha in 2002, who then changed the name AmaZulu F.C to Zulu Royals.[1]

Sokhela Ownership (2005–2020)Edit

In 2005, Dr Patrick Sokhela bought the team from Mr Sisa Bikisha, decided to revive the once mighty outfit of the Zulus by renaming the team back to AmaZulu Football Club. He and immediately bought the Premier Soccer League status of Dynamos to return the club to the top flight.[1] To commemorate the club's 80th anniversary in 2012 AmaZulu played a friendly against English giants Manchester United on 18 July 2012 losing by a solitary goal scored by Federico Macheda.

AmaZulu was relegated in the 2014–15 season. After a failure to be promoted in the 2016–17 season they rejoined the Premier Soccer League by purchasing the Thanda Royal Zulu's Premier Soccer League Status.[2]

After purchasing their PSL status, the team finished 7th in the 2017/2018 season,[3] however they were stripped of the Top 8 finish when Ajax Cape Town fielded Tendai Ndoro in matches against Platinum Stars, Polokwane City & Supersport United. This resulted in Ajax Cape Town losing all three matches 3–0 & fined R50 000 on each offence,[4] and AmaZulu dropping to 9th position in the 2017/2018 season.[5]

On 28 September 2018 it was announced by the PSL that AmaZulu would be docked 6 points for failure to comply with a ruling made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in September 2017.[6] The matter surrounded the illegal termination of the contract of a former player, Phinheas Nambandi, in 2014[7] Nambandi took the club to FIFA to contest the termination of his contract, with FIFA ruling that the termination was illegal and that the club were to pay an amount of R1‚086,000.00. AmaZulu appealed the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, the decision was upheld. A year later the club had still failed to pay the outstanding figure to Phinheas Nambandi, this resulted in FIFA's Disciplinary Committee ruling that should the club not settle the debt with the player by 16 September 2018, 6 points would be deducted.[8][9]

The club had a turbulent 2019/2020 season, with 2 coaches being fired and the club's PSL status secured by the coaching combination of Ayanda Dlamini and Moeneeb Josephs.[10] AmaZulu started the season poorly under Cavin Johnson and his assistant Alan Clark, with the team sitting on 2 points after 5 games. The decision was made by club management to fire the coaching duo, with Jozef Vukusic coming in as the club's new head coach.[11][12][13] The team seemed to have turned a corner under Vukusic's mentorship, however, they started the 2nd half of the season poorly and it was decided that change was needed in order to save the club from relegation. Vukusic was suspended, with assistant coach Ayanda Dlamini being given the role as interim head coach, and Moeneeb Josephs being installed as his assistant.[14][15] Dlamini managed to save the club from relegation, with the team finishing 13th, and going undefeated in his 5 home games in charge. What made this achievement even more impressive is that the AmaZulu ownership had implemented salary cuts on all their staff, which they cited as being associated with the COVID-19 pandemic – this despite the fact that the club continued to receive its full monthly grant from the PSL.[16][17] The club received backlash for the manner in which the salary cuts were handled from the SA Football Players' Union.[18][19][20]

The Zungu era (2020–present)Edit

On 2 October 2020, it was announced that businessman Sandile Zungu had purchased AmaZulu from Patrick Sokhela.[21] From the outset, the new ownership laid out a 12-year plan that would see the club climb in stock and standing within South African football.[22] As part of achieving this plan, Zungu brought in Benni McCarthy as Head Coach, with Siyabonga Nomvethe and McCarthy's former assistant from Cape Town City, Vasili Manousakis joining the club as assistant coaches[23][24][25][26] – this saw the redeployment of Ayanda Dlamini to the club youth structures[27] and the mutual termination of Allan Freese's contract.[28][29] Further to this, Moeneeb Josephs was brought in as the new first team goalkeeper coach, replacing long term employee Davies Phiri; and, Justin Hamburger was brought in to join the Performance Analysis department alongside Pilela Maposa.[30]

In his maiden season as the owner of AmaZulu, Sandile Zungu saw his team finish 2nd behind Mamelodi Sundowns and subsequently qualify for the 1st preliminary round of the CAF Champions League. The team beat Nyasa Big Bullets in the preliminary round with a 3-2 aggregate. AmaZulu progressed to the 2nd preliminary round facing African giants, TP Mazembe, with AmaZulu qualifying for the group stages of the competition after a 1-1 aggregate, going through on away goals. AmaZulu are the seventh team from South Africa to progress beyond the preliminary stages of Africa's showpiece club competition.[31]

FacilitiesEdit

The club currently train and have their administrative offices at the Kings Park precinct, next to Moses Mabhida Stadium.[32] The technical team have their offices base inside Prime Human Performance Institute. The club also utilize the performance facilities at Prime.[33] In line with this, biokineticist interns from Prime rotate through the AmaZulu High-Performance Department.

The club play their home games out of Kings Park Stadium, which is based in Durban.

Tertiary Institution CooperationEdit

The High Performance Manager of AmaZulu, Joshua Smith, played a key role in the formation of an externship program with the University of KwaZulu-Natal Biokinetics, Sports and Leisure Science department in 2019. The link sees biokinetics and exercise science honours students from the university assist with AmaZulu youth training sessions and physical testing.[34] The link between the two organisations continued in 2020.[35]

Further to their link with UKZN, it was announced on 15 December 2020 by AmaZulu's High Performance Manager, Joshua Smith, that a formal link between Usuthu and the International Soccer Science and Performance Federation (ISSPF) had been finalized, with the ISSPF becoming the official educational partner of the team.[36][37]

PersonnelEdit

Club officialsEdit

Position Staff
President Sandile Zungu  
Director Manzini Zungu  
Director Mfundo Zungu  
Director Charl Ferreira  
Director Mahmood Simjee  
Chief Executive Officer Sinenjabulo N. Zungu  
General Manager Tsepiso Mofokeng  
Administration Manager Peter O'Connor  
Team Manager Qedi Dlamini  
AmaZulu Trust Programs Manager Mpho Dintwa  
Club Scout Ayanda Mkhize  
High Performance Manager Joshua Mervyn Smith  
Community Relations Officer Phumlani Dube  
Media Relations Officer Brilliant Mkhathini  
Accounts Andre vd Walt  
Receptionist Lihle Dlamini  

Senior Team StaffEdit

Position Staff
Head Coach Benni McCarthy  
First Assistant Coach Vasili Manousakis  
Second Assistant Coach Siyabonga Nomvethe  
Goalkeeper Coach Moeneeb Josephs  
Performance Analyst Pilela Maposa  
Coach & Performance Analyst Justin Hamburger  
Physiotherapist Ryan Coert  
Strength & Conditioning Coach Zunaid Crowie  
Masseur Rendani Manuku  
Masseur Zami Mbatha  
Kit Manager Mvikeli Shoba  
Assistant Kit Manager Thuthukani Mthembu  

Academy StaffEdit

Position Staff
Head of Youth Development Ronnie Moroka  [38]
Academy Manager Bukelani Mthembu  
Academy Administration Assistant Londiwe Shabane  
Reserve Team Coach Nini Vilakazi  [39]
Reserve Team Conditioning Coach Mkhuliseni Mkhize  
U-19 Coach Belux Bukasa Kasongo  [40]
U-19 Conditioning Coach Sanele Dlamini  
U-17 Coach Khaya Mngwengwe  
U-15 Coach Dinto Mkhize  
U-13 Coach Nhlanhla ‘'Shakes" Zwane  [41]
Academy Kit Manager Nthokozo Mthembu  

Head Coach historyEdit

As of 18 November 2021[42][43][44][45][46][47][48]
Name Date Appointed Date Dismissed Time in office Matches Points per match
Benni McCarthy   14 Dec 2020 41 1,71
Allan Freese (Interim)   7 Dec 2020 17 Dec 2020 11 Days 1 0
Ayanda Dlamini   4 Mar 2020 7 Dec 2020 275 Days 13 1,23
Jozef Vukušič   17 Sept 2019 3 Mar 2020 168 Days 20 0,90
Cavin Johnson   8 Aug 2017 16 Sept 2019 769 Days 71 1,17
Joey Antipas   1 Jul 2016 8 Aug 2017 403 Days
Delron Buckley   (Interim) 18 Apr 2016 30 Jun 2016 73 Days
Steve Barker   23 Nov 2014 18 Apr 2016 512 Days
Wilfred Mugeyi   (Interim) 15 Oct 2014 22 Nov 2014 38 Days 5 0,20
Craig Rosslee   29 Nov 2012 15 Oct 2014 685 Days 57 1,25
Roger Palmgren   19 Sep 2011 26 Nov 2012 434 Days 41 1,24
Manqoba Mngqithi   1 Jul 2010 19 Sep 2011 445 Days 36 0,89
Neil Tovey   1 Jul 2009 28 Jun 2010 362 Days 33 1,27
Clive Barker   1 Jul 2007 30 Jun 2009 730 Days 59 1,27
Júlio César Leal   31 Jan 2007 30 Jun 2007 150 Days
Reggie Shelembe   (Interim) 30 Nov 2006 30 Jan 2007 61 Days 7 1,00
Clive Barker   1 Jul 2006 29 Nov 2006 151 Days 10 0,6
Thabo Dladla   2005
Keagan Mumba   2004 2004
Walter Rautmann   2003
Zipho Dlangalala   & Thabo Dladla   (Interim) 2003 2003
Joseph Mukeba   2003 2003
Ramadhan Nsanzurwimo   2003 2003
Neil Tovey   2001 2002
Eddie Lewis   1999 2000
Gavin Lane   (Interim) 1999 1999
Clive Barker   1997 1999
Eoin Hand   1993 1993
Clive Barker   1991 1993
Clive Barker   1986 1987
Clive Barker   1974 1976

Club honoursEdit

LeagueEdit

National Professional Soccer League (first tier)

  • Champions: 1972

First Division Coastal Stream (second tier)

  • Winners: 2000–01, 2002–03

CupsEdit

Telkom Knockout

  • Winners: 1992

Nedbank Cup

  • Runners-up: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1987, 1990, 2009–10

Minor cupsEdit

  • KwaZulu-Natal Premier's Cup:
  • The Msunduzi Cup

Club recordsEdit

Premier Soccer LeagueEdit

National First Division (2nd tier)Edit

CAF Champions LeagueEdit

  • 2021/2022 - Qualified for group stages.

Cup recordEdit

MTN 8Edit

Season Round Opposition Score
2021/2022 Quarter-Finals Cape Town City F.C. 1:2
2012/2013 Quarter-Finals Moroka Swallows F.C. 0:2
2009/2010 Semi-Finals Lamontville Golden Arrows F.C. 1:4 (over two legs)

Telkom KnockoutEdit

Season Round Opposition Score
2019/2020 First round Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. 0:5
2018/2019 Quarter-Finals Orlando Pirates F.C. 1:3 (AET)
2017/2018 First round Kaizer Chiefs F.C. 0:3
2014/2015 Quarter-Finals Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. 1:2 (AET)
2013/2014 First round Free State Stars F.C. 0:2
2012/2013 Quarter-Finals Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. 0:2
2011/2012 First round Bidvest Wits F.C. 0:1
2010/2011 First round Kaizer Chiefs F.C. 0:2
2009/2010 Semi-Finals Ajax Cape Town F.C. 0:2
2008/2009 First round SuperSport United F.C. 0:1
2008/2009 Quarter-Finals Bloemfontein Celtic F.C. 0:1

Nedbank CupEdit

Season Round Opposition Score
2020/2021 Round of 16 Black Leopards F.C. 0:1
2019/2020 Round of 32 Bloemfontein Celtic F.C. 1:4
2018/2019 Round of 32 Highlands Park F.C. 1:3 (Penalty shootout)
2017/2018 Round of 16 Ubuntu 2:3
2016/2017 Round of 32 Platinum Stars F.C. 2:3
2015/2016 Round of 32 Jomo Cosmos F.C. 3:4 (Penalty shootout)
2014/2015 Round of 32 Lamontville Golden Arrows F.C. 1:2
2013/2014 Round of 16 Bidvest Wits F.C. 1:4
2012/2013 Round of 32 Tembu Royals F.C. 1:2
2011/2012 Semi-Finals SuperSport United F.C. 0:3
2010/2011 Quarter-Finals Mpumalanga Black Aces F.C. 2:3
2009/2010 Final Bidvest Wits F.C. 0:3
2008/2009 Round of 32 Black Leopards F.C. 0:1
2007/2008 Semi-Finals Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. 0:1

Current squadEdit

As of 12 November 2021[74]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   RSA Olwethu Mzimela
4 MF   RSA Tercious Malepe
5 DF   RSA Thembela Sikhakhane
6 DF   ZIM Butholezwe Ncube
7 FW   RSA Bongi Ntuli
8 MF   RSA Makhehlene Makhaula
9 FW   RSA Siphelele Mthembu
12 MF   RSA Sicelo Mkhize
13 DF   RSA Philani Zulu
14 MF   NZL Andre de Jong
15 MF   RSA Luvuyo Memela
17 DF   RSA Mbongeni Gumede (captain)
18 DF   RSA Kgotso Moleko
19 MF   RSA Tshepang Moremi
20 FW   RSA Lehlohonolo Majoro
21 MF   GAM Matarr Ceesay
No. Pos. Nation Player
22 DF   RSA Sandile Khumalo
23 MF   RSA Xola Mlambo
24 DF   RSA Tsepo Masilela
25 DF   MWI Limbikani Mzava
27 DF   RSA Tapelo Xoki
28 MF   RSA Hendrick Ekstein
30 FW   ZAM Augustine Mulenga
34 MF   RSA Sphesihle Maduna
36 MF   RSA Mxolisi Kunene
38 GK   GAB Jean-Noël Amonome
39 DF   RSA Samkelo Mgwazela
43 GK   RSA Neil Boshoff
44 GK   RSA Veli Mothwa
45 MF   RSA Keagan Buchanan
47 MF   RSA Thabo Qalinge
49 FW   RSA Lindokuhle Zungu

Players on loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player

Shirt sponsor & kit manufacturerEdit

  • Shirt sponsor: SPAR[75][76][77]
  • Kit manufacturer: Umbro[78]
  • Sponsor: Durban Tourism
  • Sponsor: Woodlands Dairy
  • Sponsor: Bell Equipment Ltd.
  • Sponsor: Grindrod
  • Sponsor:Dimension Data
  • Sponsor:Thule
  • Sponsor: Mazi Asset Management
  • Sponsor: Umgeni Water
  • Vehicle Sponsor: Mitsubishi South Africa
  • Strapping and Rehabilitation equipment: HiTech Therapy

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit