'They made a fool out of Sugar Ray'


Even though the late 'Sugar Ray' Xulu was given Irvin Khoza's PSL award, Mlungisi 'Professor' Ngubane is angry that a "genuine legend" was never properly honoured during his lifetime.

Ngubane says the AmaZulu legend, who passed away in Pinetown on Monday evening at the age of 81 after losing his battle with cancer, was not given the legendary status he deserved by those in power.

READ: SA football mourns Sugar Ray loss

View more pics of soccer legends Sugar Ray Xulu and Professor Ngubane above...

"[Sighing] Sugar... they are the ones who welcomed me as a youngster at AmaZulu, when it was still the real AmaZulu," Ngubane opens up to KickOff.com.

"The likes of Richard, Ace Mnikathi, Chippa Khoza, Sugar Ray... I remember in the middle it was Sugar Ray, Chippa Khoza and Khura Moripe. Then it would be Mnikathi, Shoes Shamase, that's when I arrived at AmaZulu.

"I started on the bench when I joined and I had no problem about that because I could see the team was full of winners. I just told myself I would learn from Sugar because he was using the left foot, how he took free-kicks, I learned from him.

"I told him that 'one day Sugar I will take over from you'. When I joined he was about to retire.

"He was a good man. Even now it's my wish for people not to cry too much because what he suffered from gave him problems. He died from the same cancer that killed my brother.

"So he is resting, even though we can't get used to death, my brother. It's God who knows. I always tell myself that maybe because we have date of births, we also have date of death. A human being doesn't die by mistake.

"My brother must rest, he played his role in South African football. It's just South Africa is South Africa. He was never given the recognition that he really, really deserved, although Irvin [Khoza, PSL chairman] gave him the Chairman's Award [last year]...

"Fortunately there's a stadium named after him even though they gave him nothing. They should have given him something. They should have paid for using his name, they never paid, they made a fool out of him and wrote his name at the stadium.

"He got nothing. He was not paid. The name Cedrick 'Sugar Ray' Xulu is very big, this guy was the captain of the South African Black Eleven. He was fetched by a helicopter to play in Johannesburg. He got there and scored two goals.

"So we are not talking about a nobody here, we are talking about a genuine legend, the real one.

"Not these today's legends who only played 50 games, scored one goal or not even a single one and be referred to as a legend. The word legend shouldn't be destroyed because we will end up confusing people with these legends of today.

"Today there are people who didn't even do a quarter of what Sugar Ray did but call themselves legends. There are former players, and there are legends. It's not a shame to tell someone he is not a legend because he is the one who failed to make himself a legend.

"You make yourself a legend. You sacrifice a lot of stuff to become a great player. You can't be great when it comes to alcohol and parties, and at the same time be great in football... it doesn't happen that way.

"So Sugar focused on football and lived with his family. He raised his boys, sent them to school, even though at the end they turned into something else. But I know there's one, Thami, who took a good path.

"He left us in bad times where only 50 people are allowed at funerals, so it's better we give the family a chance to say goodbye to him."