DURBAN – When Siyanda Xulu was about to quit football and pursue a career in music, his development mentor Lindani Shezi managed to convince him not to hang up his boots.
The Bafana Bafana international started his career with eThekwini Coastal in KwaMakhutha where he played in dusty fields of the Durban south township.
Born and bred in KwaMashu, the 29-year-old would travel by train to attend training sessions at Kingsway High School in Amanzimtoti.
Shezi never doubted that Xulu would make it big in football. Indeed he was never wrong in his imagination at that time as Xulu went on to represent big clubs such as Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and FC Rostov of Russia.
“I discovered Siyanda when he was 14 years. He had given up on football at that time. Siyanda was playing for Bootlaces and they won the Transnet and they were supposed to go to Bloemfontein but that didn’t happen. As a result, he decided to go into music. When I brought him back to football, he was singing. When I got him, he was the striker,” Shezi who is renowned for producing top talent in KwaZulu-Natal reminisced.
Xulu was back to where it all started for him at Kingsway this week where he was motivating other young upcoming talent at eThekwini Coastal.
He recently penned a two year deal with Hapoel Tel Aviv FC of Israel. Xulu departed for Israel on Thursday.
“I converted Siyanda to a centre back. He played for our Under-15, 17 and 19. He captained all those sides because he has got leadership skills. He has been a disciplined player since the young age. You’ll never find him making headlines for wrong reasons, he is a born leader. “I had no doubt that that he would play in the national team and go overseas. He is one of the most humble and disciplined players,” Shezi added.
Xulu left eThekwini Coastal at the age of 16 to join Kaizer Chiefs before he was lured by Mamelodi Sundowns who gave him his professional debut in 2009.
“Siyanda moved from us to Kaizer Chiefs. (Former Bafana and Chiefs striker) Fani Madida initiated his move to Chiefs development. He spoke with Bobby Motaung and they took the boy. Sundowns discovered him while playing for Chiefs development,” Shezi stated.
Xulu was in the books of Maritzburg United this season but his contract expired and he opted to go back to Europe. He has always been destined for Europe in his career. At the early stage of his career, he missed out on a move to Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
He currently hold the title of being the best defensive player in the Premier Soccer League.