Tapelo Nyongo: AmaZulu showed me love
Posted: 24 August 2018 Time: 09:45
AmaZulu defender Tapelo Nyongo is the longest serving player currently at the club, and felt it was right to stay with the Durban-based outfit during their time in the NFD.
The 23-year-old is the only player at AmaZulu that spent two seasons in the second tier with the club after the then-Steve Barker-coached side suffered relegation with a 2-1 loss to Maritzburg United at Moses Mabhida Stadium in the final game of 2014/15.
He joined Usuthu at the beginning of that season from Old Mutual Academy in Cape Town, along with Sedat Ouro-Akoriko, Siya Mngoma, Philani Shange, Robyn Johannes, Mfanafuthi Dlamini, Darren Smith, Zambian striker Bornwell Mwape and Shaun Cramer at a time when Craig Rosslee was in charge.
Ouro-Akoriko, who returned to the club at the beginning of last season after Usuthu bought Thanda Royal Zulu's PSL status, spent the first six months in the NFD before he left to join Saudi side Al Faisaly.
Left-back Marc van Heerden, who rejoined Usuthu in the off-season, spent a full season with Usuthu in the NFD but he was sold at the end of that campaign to Chippa United. He spent six months at the Chilli Boys and then 18 months at Orlando Pirates.
"The club has been good to me since I joined them in the lower division from the ABC Motsepe League. Because when I came I was only 18 years old and unknown, but they showed me love," Nyongo tells KickOff.com.
"I never had a problem and also the club has never had a problem with me. So we are good together for all this time. I also didn't see a reason to leave the club.
"To stay was because of how the club kept on treating me even though I was in the PSL for the first time when we were relegated. I continued to play because I knew it was the only way for me to improve by remaining with the club to earn that experience in the NFD, because I skipped that from the ABC Motsepe League to the PSL.
"Maybe that development of playing in the NFD, I needed it. That helped to improve my game and gain experience. Others left and they came back in the team and that also brings joy to me. Now there are so many players who have come after me and they are learning with the experience. To still be at the club I'm very happy about that.
"I have to admit that when the club was relegated I had a lot nightmares, I can't lie. It was tough but I told myself that I'd love to see the club back in the PSL again whether I'm playing or not playing, but to ensure the club is happy.
"So I was ecstatic to be the one to score the first goal in the PSL and also be the last player to score in the PSL when we were relegated. That also brought a big smile to my face because it is my intention to see the club happy, because they have done so much for me."
The Cape-born defender intends to leave a legacy at the club that last won a trophy, the Coca-Cola Cup, in 1992, three years before he was born.
"Every player wants to create his own dreams. I also have my own dreams and they are yet to be achieved. I'm not satisfied.
"I'll continue to push and see where that that takes me. But for now I've ensure that I play and leave the club where it deserves to be."
This is Nyongo's fifth season with Usuthu and he has scored eight times and in 75 appearances.
During the off-season, Nyongo, who played 19 matches last term, scored the winner in the KZN Premier's Cup final against Richards Bay FC. He started a move at the back before unleashing a shot into the top corner past the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Xolani Ngcobo.