Xulu's Chiefs nightmare is over

Xulu signed for Amakhosi on a five-year deal ahead of the 2015/2016 season, after leaving Russian side FC Rostov. At the time, Amakhosi were delighted that Xulu, who had previously been in their development side, was coming back to his rightful home. 

There was a lot expected from the former Mamelodi Sundowns defender at Chiefs. Chiefs were hoping that Xulu would fill the void left by Tefu Mashamaite, but that was not the case. Instead, Lorenzo Gordinho played ahead of him, forming a partnership with Erick Mathoho.

It was never confirmed, but rumours were that Xulu fell out with coach Steve Komphela and that resulted in him watching Amakhosi’s matches from the stands. He came back from playing in Europe and ended up playing in the club’s MultiChoice Diski Challenge side, as his career went backwards.

Xulu, speaking to journalists after he was unveiled at a press conference at Harry Gwala Stadium, sounded hurt by how things turned out at Chiefs but is hopeful for a change in fortune at Maritzburg.

“Being overlooked and not playing is something that I learnt from,” said Xulu of his time at Chiefs.

“I managed to put my head down and do what I needed to do because, in the situation I was in, I could have just pulled any stunt.”

He added: “But I don't want to put myself under pressure, hence I decided to come here. My objective is to fight for my place. I just want to help the team, be at my best and that's it.”

Maritzburg have set themselves a target of finishing in the top five, as well as to reach a knockout competition final, and Xulu wants to help them achieve their goals.

“I had a good chat with coach [Fadlu Davids]. I don't think they put that kind of pressure when it comes to the league.

“But obviously they have an ambition as a club and that is to be in the top five, as you heard from the chairman.” 

The 25-year-old's first game will be against his former club Sundowns in the MTN8 quarter-finals at Lucas Moripe Stadium on 13 August.