DURBAN – There will be more changes at AmaZulu as the club aims to trim the squad while improving the quality for the second half of the Absa Premiership.
The side has been a work-in-progress under Cavin Johnson, who took over a week before AmaZulu returned to the PSL following the purchase of the franchise of First Division champions Thanda Royal Zulu.
The coach assessed the squad he inherited in the first half of the season, and recently parted with four fringe players. Out went defender Vukile Mngqibisa, midfielders Philip Ndlondlo and Tebogo Moerane, and playmaker Nkanyiso Zungu who was loaned to Jomo Cosmos in the second tier.
“The squad was big anyway, and we made a decision as a club so that players can get game time elsewhere. Sometimes players don’t make the grade from NFD to PSL, or they don’t fit into the playing philosophy,” said Johnson in explaining the departures before the squad regrouped yesterday following the festive break.
He said a few more midfielders might be offloaded, “to make competition a lot better”, and to improve the depth and quality Usuthu will look to add a striker and a goalkeeper.
Already Johnson has earmarked his former Platinum Stars reserve left-back Sibusiso Mabiliso. The Under-20 international, who arrives on a three-year deal subject to obtaining his clearance, will provide cover for Simphiwe Mtsweni.
The coach added that striker Mhlengi Cele, who got into double figures for Thanda last season, deserved his chance, but “has got to come to the party” to improve on his return of three goals so far.
“We’re in a situation where a lot of the players have had no PSL time or only a few minutes, so it’s been about testing the waters. At the same time we are starting to gel well, especially after being out of the PSL for a few years.
“We lost some games we shouldn’t have, played bad and drew games, a little of everything, but the team is getting there,” said Johnson.
AmaZulu kick off the second round with a home outing against Chippa United on January 7.
Meanwhile, Golden Arrows have confirmed the acquisition of midfielder Danny Venter from Free State Stars.