The 29-year-old midfielder only made seven Premiership appearances for the Buccaneers last season. And after clearly not being in Zinnbauer’s plans, he was released by the club at the end of the season.
JOHANNESBURG – AmaZulu’s new recruit Xola Mlambo is hoping to rediscover and improve himself at the club, after enduring a rocky campaign at Orlando Pirates last season.
A change of coaching personnel often becomes a double-edged sword for players – as they either get a new chance to compete or fall down the pecking order. Mlambo, though, suffered the latter following the arrival of Josef Zinnbauer at Pirates in December last year.
The 29-year-old midfielder only made seven Premiership appearances for the Buccaneers last season. And after clearly not being in Zinnbauer’s plans, he was released by the club at the end of the season after two and a half years.
Now, the former Wits’ player has finally put the speculation surrounding his future to bed, after being unveiled by Usuthu on a long-term contract.
Once labelled as one of the most skilful players in the top flight and the future of Bafana Bafana’s midfield, Mlambo had the football fraternity eating out from the palm of his hand. And that’s why at Usuthu, he’s hoping to revive that belief and improve.
“Coaches have their own opinions and decisions to make. But if I can make an explanation with a Lamborghini, you’d never see it more often in the streets and not everyone will own one. But it doesn’t lose value or depreciates,” Mlambo said.
“Not being seen doesn’t mean I’ve lost quality or I’m a different person. I am still the same Xola that people were talking about. I am still the same Xola who was winning accolades. I can still be a better Xola with the new family that I have.”
The arrival of Mlambo at the Durban-based team is confirmation of the new president’s ambitions to see AmaZulu among the top competitors this season, considering that he has urged them to at least finish in the top four on the league standings.
Sandile Zungu had already put the plans to see his targets bear fruit into motion, signing a host of seasoned elite league campaigners last week: Siphiwe Tshabalala, Luvuyo Memela, Augustine Mulenga, Makhehlene Makhaula, Siphelele Mthembu, Limbikani Mzava and Thembela Sikhakhane.
Mlambo is available for selection tomorrow when AmaZulu search for their first win of the season – having drawn 1-1 with Pirates at home on Saturday. They face TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium.
Should he get to feature for his new team against the Rockets, Mlambo will come up against his mentor Dan “Dance” Malesela, something “that will be emotional but good as he always wants to see me doing good and vice versa”.