Maritzburg United's Siyanda Xulu braced for emotional Nedbank Cup final with Free State Stars
Posted: 18 May 2018 Time: 18:00
Maritzburg United defender Siyanda Xulu knows emotions will be running high when he goes in search of his first PSL trophy on Saturday night.
Maritzburg will meet Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup final at Cape Town Stadium tomorrow, with kick-off set for 19h00.
Xulu came close to winning the competition in 2012, but was on the losing side for Mamelodi Sundowns in the final against SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium.
The next season he joined Rostov in Russia, only returning home in 2015/16 when he linked up with Kaizer Chiefs. Amakhosi lost the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout finals under coach Steve Komphela that campaign.
Xulu, who helped Downs finish second in the league to SuperSport in 2009/10, has only won one trophy, the Russian Cup. He claimed the silverware in 2013/14 when Rostov defeated Krasnodar 5-6 on penalties in the final at Anzhi-Arena in Kaspiysk, Dagestan.
Xulu is determined to double his trophy collection this weekend.
“It’ll be an emotional day for me to play on Saturday, going to the game knowing very well what is at stake,” said Xulu, who revived his career with Maritzburg this season after barely featuring for Chiefs in a two-year spell at Naturena.
“But not to put too much pressure on myself. I can handle the pressure ... I’ve been in a pressure situation before. But this is something I have to do for myself. I have to win it for Fadlu, for myself and for my family.”
The 26-year-old admitted he took a gamble to join the Team of Choice, who have exceeded expectations this season under coach Fadlu Davids having also finished a best-ever fourth in the league.
“It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever done for myself, for my family,” Xulu responded without hesitation.
“At first it was a gamble but it was a gamble I was willing to take. Because in a very long time I didn’t have someone who believed in me as much as Fadlu Davids did.
“I think for a coach to tell you how good you are when everybody thinks that you are not as good as you used to be, I think it was important for me to come here and to convince myself, not to show people how good I am - they know how good I’m - it was just to show myself and take on the challenge.
“I took the challenge, I took the gamble and it has worked. It was a brilliant season for me, for my family, for the club, even for Fadlu,” concluded Xulu, who is expected to be nominated for the PSL Defender of the Season award.
The winners of the Nedbank Cup will join Chiefs in the CAF Confederation Cup next term.