JOHANNESBURG - Former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns defender Siyanda “Magazi” Xulu, who is now on the books of Maritzburg United, is gunning for his first piece of silverware in South African football.
Xulu (26) spent three seasons at Sundowns and didn’t taste cup success. It is astonishing that a player of his calibre is still searching for the first gold medal in the Premier Soccer League.
Xulu has seen it all in football. He has even had the rare opportunity of having trials with Barcelona and Arsenal. The KwaMashu-born defender has represented his country four times at senior level.
Chiefs are known as cup kings in South Africa, but unfortunately for Xulu there was no silverware won during his two-year stay at Naturena.
Believe it or not his first piece of silverware might come at Maritzburg United. The club has never reached the cup final before, despite the club's decent record of winning silverware.
The Team of Choice face SuperSport United in the semi-final of the MTN8 on Saturday night at 8.15 pm. The first leg is at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atterigdeville.
“Yes I won my first trophy in Russia three years ago... I’ve been in the semi-finals and the finals (here), but the gold medal has eluded me,” said Xulu after completing his full debut for Maritzburg United against Ajax Cape Town at the Harry Gwala Stadium.
"Right now I’m working on achieving that dream. I want to win a cup in South Africa. It's going to be the cherry on top to win it with a KZN team since I’m from this province."
Xulu lifted his first piece of silverware when he won the Russian Cup with FC Rostov in 2013/14.
On the flip side he collected two silver medals in his debut season at Amakhosi. Chiefs lost to Ajax Cape Town in the final of the MTN8 and they were also humiliated by Mamelodi Sundowns in the final of the Telkom Knockout in 2015/16.
“(This time) the pressure is with SuperSport United. They are the big team and we are the small team. We are the underdogs and that motivates us.”
Maritzburg United have started the season like a house on fire, winning three in a row. On top of that they are yet to concede. That record is under threat though, as the likes of Jeremy Brockie and Bradley Grobler are ruthless in front of goal.
“We are ready for the SuperSport United attack. Come Saturday we will be ready to face them. We want to stretch our record of not conceding,” Xulu elaborated.
Maritzburg United are looking to be the first KZN team in seven years to reach the final, after AmaZulu lost to Wits in the final of the Nedbank Cup in 2010.
Xulu still harbours the ambition of a Bafana return and playing overseas.
“For now it's all about cementing my place and keeping the team going. Yes, I would love to represent my country again, but at the moment I have to focus on club level. Age is on my side, I believe I can still play overseas,” Xulu concluded.
SuperSport United are brimming with confidence after beating Chiefs in a league encounter in midweek.