The South African Football Association today confirmed Xulu will skipper the nation at the COSAFA Cup, which started yesterday in Polokwane.
Bafana will start their campaign in the quarter-final stage against the winners of Group A, which comprises Madagascar, Mozambique, Comoros and Mozambique.
Xulu has revived his career at Maritzburg this past campaign following a two-year horror stay at Kaizer Chiefs, notably earning a Bafana recall and being nominated for the PSL Defender of the Season award.
"It was a very huge surprise when the coach named me the captain," Xulu conceded.
"Coming back here is me saying to myself let me just learn new things from the other guys, let me reset my international career. It was me trying to refocus on my game and the captaincy is not something I really expected."
Xulu is naturally pleased with his progress following his trying times at Naturena.
"Personally, it has been a great year. I can actually label this as my best season ever. When one looks back two seaons ago things were not looking that great.
"Me coming back and fighting for my position at Maritzburg United, earning a Bafana Bafana call-up and also being named captain of the squad – and I am hoping for a good tournament."
Meanwhile, the former Mamelodi Sundowns man is looking forward to putting in some time under Bafana coach Stuart Baxter.
"We have to work to hard and prepare well for the tournament. I can never assure you of what we can do as a team because we have only had one training session, but I believe in the boys.
"From the first session you could see the attitude and the willingness to work for one another. It is a good bunch of players, young and energetic, and that’s what you need.
"Most of us haven’t worked with coach Baxter and that is why we are looking forward to the camp, and from the little we have seen at training, it seems like it is going to be a very exciting camp."