DURBAN – Amazulu presented a united front as the club hit out at reports they described as “destabilising” and threatened to ban supporters found to be inciting others against the technical team and management.
Club general manager Lunga Sokhela, coach Cavin Johnson and veteran player Siyabonga Nomvethe addressed the media yesterday to dismiss online reports which claimed that Nomvethe had “incited supporters to boycott the coach” over his lack of game time.
“He is one of South Africa’s greatest players of recent times, a man whose record speaks for itself, and a critical member of the AmaZulu family,” said Sokhela of 40-year-old Nomvethe, who is the leading all-time scorer of the PSL.
The veteran marksman was the club’s top scorer last term in the National First Division but has had limited game time this season following their return to the top flight through the purchase of promoted Thanda Royal Zulu.
Sokhela said the selection of match-day squads was the sole responsibility of the coach, and that management never signed or transferred players without the input of the coach.
“Siyabonga Nomvethe is a professional of the highest calibre and we are proud to have him with us. “His role in the club is not limited to the field of play but also in guiding others in the squad to replicate his heroics,” Sokhela added of the former Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows legend who also played in Italy and Denmark in a career spanning over two decades.
“The coach and only the coach alone selects the squad and the team that plays. In the change room and with the players there’s only one boss, the coach Cavin Johnson. Nomvethe is with the club because the coach respects him as a player and sees value in him being part of the squad.
“It’s important we avoid such sideshows at this critical period,” elaborated Sokhela as he urged supporters to raise concerns through their branches instead of airing their grievances at matches and at the training ground.
For his part, Nomvethe expressed “surprise” at the online report and said he had only respect for the club, coach, technical staff and management.
The former international said that as a professional of 23 years he put the interests of the club and the team first and supported whichever team that was selected to play.
Regarding “Bhele’s” sporadic appearances, Johnson put it down to a “horses for courses” selection strategy.
He said if a match or situation called for it then a player would feature.
As an example he highlighted Usuthu’s 2-1 win over Mamelodi Sundowns in October when Nomvethe and fellow veteran Mabhuti Khenyeza scored, explaining that the situation called for Nomvethe’s introduction.
The Durban side welcome back captain Tapelo Nyongo into the heart of defence for Sunday’s visit of Chippa United, which marks their start of the second round of the season.