AmaZulu owner Sandile Zungu denies link to Benni McCarthy

01 December 2020 - 16:51
By Marc Strydom
Former Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix Former Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy.

AmaZulu’s new owner Sandile Zungu has denied links to his club of Benni McCarthy as coach as rumours‚ but did subtly send a message to his current coaching staff that an ambitious new regime at Usuthu expect results.

Announcing the signings of SA Under-23 international forward Phakamani Mahlambi on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns and goalkeeper Veli Mothwa on a permanent deal from Chippa United on Tuesday‚ Zungu was asked about a report in a weekly football publication linking ex-Cape Town City coach McCarthy to Usuthu.

He made it clear that current coach Ayanda Dlamini and assistant Allan Freeze have the club’s full support‚ but did add that the club’s new owners‚ who bought the franchise from Patrick Sokhela in the off-season‚ expect results. Zungu added that those results take the form of the mandate for his coaching staff of a top four finish in the 2020-21 DStv Premiership.

“I’ve heard five coaches being associated with AmaZulu – it’s the first time I hear of Benni McCarthy‚ by the way‚” AmaZulu’s president said at the head offices of Zungu Investment Company in Bryanston‚ Johannesburg on Tuesday.

“And in the game of soccer everyone knows that you’ve got to have a thick skin – you can’t treat rumours with disdain. It’s nothing personal.

“All I can tell you is that the technical team – not just the head coach but the assistant‚ goalkeeper-coach and medical staff – enjoy our support.

“We inherited them from the previous administration. And we made it very clear when we came on board that everyone has got to prove themselves.

“There is no-one viewed with suspicion simply because we got them from the previous administration. One thing that we are very clear about is that we’ve got ambition‚ and in our pursuit of ambition there will be no prisoners taken.

“If you stand in the way – you are a player and you are not performing – there is no space for you. If you are an administrator and not rising up to the challenge‚ there is no space for you.

“If you are a member of the technical team and the outcomes are not visible‚ you are expendable.

“Neither am I bigger than Usuthu. Usuthu is a big brand. I‚ and my brother [Manzini Zungu]‚ simply have the responsibility of managing this big brand and taking it to greatness.

“ ... The team belongs to the supporters‚ and we must just bring happiness to the supporters. And if I stand in the way of progress I’ll just step out and somebody else will become president of Usuthu.

“If a coach is standing in the way of the happiness of the supporters‚ who have been patient since 1992 [AmaZulu's last trophy in the Coca-Cola Cup]‚ he will have to do the right thing.

“ ... But at the moment all of them enjoy our support – it’s unequivocal.”

Asked if his coaching staff have a mandate for the season‚ Zungu replied: “We want a top four position come the end of the season‚ come hell or high water.”

AmaZulu – with strong signings who have also included Siphiwe Tshabalala‚ Xola Mlambo‚ Limbikani Mzava and Makhehleni Makhaula – have started with a win‚ two draws and two defeats in the 2020-21 Premiership.