A decent season for AmaZulu in 2018-19 was hampered by a six-point deduction due to Usuthu being found guilty of unlawfully terminating Phineas Nambandi’s contract.
Cavin Johnson’s side would have been in the hunt for a top-eight spot were it not for that, but instead found themselves lingering between mid-table and the relegation zone.
2019-20 could be the season in which the team from Umlazi reaches its full potential, but they are not without their obstacles. Their only major off-season acquisition has been striker Lehlohonolo Majoro from Bidvest Wits and the likes of Marc van Heerden (Stellenbosch FC) and Siyabonga Nomvethe (retired) have departed.
Nevertheless, they are under the mentorship of a coach who knows how to get the best out of his players. Johnson’s AmaZulu have been unfortunate in recent years.
Not only did they effectively lose all hope of an MTN8 position through a points deduction in 2018-19; they also missed qualification the previous season through the boardroom. SuperSport United took their spot in last season’s MTN8 after their 1-0 defeat to Ajax Cape Town was overturned due to the Urban Warriors fielding the ineligible Tendai Ndoro.
Finishing in the top half this season will be the target then and it will take a brave bettor to put their money against AmaZulu.
AmaZulu FC nicknames
AmaZulu FC history
AmaZulu FC was founded as Zulu Royal Conquerors by migrant workers as far back as 1932. This makes Usuthu one of the oldest football clubs in South Africa.
The team name changed to Zulu Royals after they met Zulu King Solomon. Their headquarters were based at eMbelebeleni Royal Kraal until a dispute over a match which went ahead on the day of King Bhekizulu’s funeral in 1968 led to them being moved to eWema, although this ultimately proved temporary.
The club got its big break in 1971 when it replaced suspended African Wanderers in the NPSL. Zulu Royals United, as they were known by this stage, finished sixth in the league on the first attempt, winning the vote for Club of the Year. The following year, they went one better and won the NPSL title.
The supporters took over the running of the club shortly after the departure of manager Bethwell Masondo and Zulu Royals were renamed “AmaZulu”.
Usuthu enjoyed success in the late 1980s and early 1990s but were often unable to convert good football into silverware.
They were bought by Sisa Bikisha in 2002 and renamed “Zulu Royals”. However, Patrick Sokhela bought the club in 2005 and resurrected the AmaZulu brand. Sokhela also bought the PSL status of Dynamos to bring Usuthu back to the top flight.
Following their relegation in 2014-15 and their failed 2016-17 promotion bid, AmaZulu once again purchased the status of a top-flight club — this time Thanda Royal Zulu. They have since seen back-to-back mid-table finishes.
AmaZulu FC: Latest news and live scores
AmaZulu FC: Live scores
AmaZulu FC 2019-20 squad
Forwards: Lehlohonolo Majoro, Talent Chawapiwa, Bongi Ntuli, Mhlengi Cele
Midfilders: Ovidy Karuru, Andre Earnest De Jong, Samuel Darpoh, Michael Morton, Augustine Ramphele, Somila Ntsundwana, Nhlanhla Vilakazi, Jabulani Ncobeni, Siduduzo Dlamini, Butholezwe Ncube, Sphesihle Maduna, Charlie Hlalele, Siyethemba Sithebe
Defenders: Sadat Ouro-Akoriko, Tapelo Nyongo, Thembela Sikhakhane, Mbongeni Gumede, Marc Van Heerden, Tshepo Gumede, Phumlani Gumede, Sibusiso Mabiliso, Xolani Silawula, Boiki Modikaseng
Goalkeepers: Moneeb Josephs, Siyabonga Mbatha, Neil Boshoff
AmaZulu FC: PSL season 2019-20 fixtures and results