Durban - AmaZulu defender Tapelo Xoki is being strongly tipped to join Orlando Pirates, according to sources.
Since joining Usuthu in 2014, the 27-year-old has established himself as a solid defender with a knack for also scoring goals. He is now regarded as one of the best players in South African football who has yet to be capped by Bafana Bafana.
Xoki played a key role in helping AmaZulu finish the 2020/21 league campaign in second spot, their highest ever finish since the inception of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in 1996.
Pirates have struggled for defensive consistency since they last won the league title a decade ago. Should Xoki move to the Orlando Stadium, it could allow the Sea Robbers to potentially reinforce their backline while also paving the way for them to potentially part ways with Thulani Hlatshwayo. Since joining Pirates from the now defunct Bidvest Wits in 2020, Hlatshwayo has been a big disappointment as he has struggled to adapt to life at the club.
Another player widely expected to leave AmaZulu at the end of the season is Siyethemba Sithebe. Sithebe has been linked with a move to Kaizer Chiefs and has not played a competitive game for Usuthu since suggestions emerged that he was negotiating with Chiefs earlier this year.
Contacted for comment, officials from AmaZulu refused to comment on player speculation, indicating that the club will focus on this at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, AmaZulu will soon have to make a decision on who to hire as their full time coach. The Durban based club have been without a full-time coach since Benni McCarthy was sacked in March. Since then, Brandon Truter has been in charge of the club on an interim basis.
Since the former Swallows FC coach took charge of Usuthu, the club’s form has improved. They have not lost in any of the three league games that he has led them in, winning three and moving back into the top eight.
Earlier in the week, Truter said that he is confident of landing the full-time coaching job at the club.
“Currently it does look positive. We have won three games and drawn three. We have not conceded any goals or lost. Right now, I’m feeling confident and God willing I will have the job. We are in the process of planning pre-season and setting up camps with my input as well. It looks very positive,” said Truter.