Andre Ayew and Siyanda Xulu (Gallo Images)
AmaZulu head coach Benni McCarthy has beseeched club president Sandile Zungu to sign Bafana Bafana center-back Siyanda Xulu.
Xulu has been training with Usuthu since his contract with Israeli top-flight side Hapoel Tel Aviv was terminated by mutual consent last month.
The 30-year-old, who previously plied his trade with Mamelodi Sundowns, has been solid at the back for Bafana over the last few seasons and is expected to start in the heart of defense alongside Sundowns stopper Rushine de Reuck in the upcoming internationals against Guinea and France.
Xulu has received praise from McCarthy for the quality and leadership qualities he has brought to the AmaZulu squad.
And McCarthy is pleading with his superior to swoop for Xulu before other clubs do with the lanky center-back attracting plenty of interest.
“He’s a breath of fresh air; he brings a lot of experience. The leadership quality he portrays; you know when a player has it when you have class, it’s permanent, and he is one of those players. You can see it rubbing off on my team,” said McCarthy as quoted by SA Soccer Mag
“Everyone is starting to talk because Siyanda Xulu, not even an AmaZulu player, has leadership qualities, talking and dictating to players. You want good, influential players to come and rub off on others the right way.
“It’s been super positive; I hope the club has it within it to make him an addition to the squad. We can still qualify for CAF, and we have seven games to save our season to get into the top four. He’s not a bad addition to have in the team.”
McCarthy’s men face Raja Casablanca in a crucial CAF Champions League clash at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Friday evening, where 2000 fans will be in attendance.
Usuthu will be looking for revenge, having lost the reverse fixture 1-0, before claiming historic wins over Guinean giants Horoya and Algerian powerhouse ES Setif.
And McCarthy wants his side to embrace the occasion.
“It will be a high-pressure game; they must take it as a privilege,” said McCarthy.
“We’re ready; we have done our part as the coaching staff; it’s now all down to the players to go out and perform at a level they know they can play and reach.
“The players must take the fight; they must show how bad they want it. They know how hard we have worked for it. As good as Raja is, it’s our time now. We coaches have done our job; it’s up to the players now.”
Kick-off is at 18:00.