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Siyanda Xulu: Maritzburg United are no longer a small team

11:22 GMT+4 22/04/2018
Siyanda Xulu of Maritzburg United challenged by Mame Niang of Royal Eagles
The former Masandawana defender believes that the Team of Choice deserve to finish in the top four following their exploits this season

With the notion that Maritzburg United are small club from the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, defender Siyanda Xulu says that must come to an end this season.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns defender is poised to welcome his former bosses to Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday afternoon as they honour their Nedbank Cup semi-final tie, before returning to the same venue just days later to lock horns once again in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Although Xulu began his professional football career with the Brazilians in 2009 until 2012, he went on to join Russian side FC Rostov where he helped to win the Russian League title in 2013/14 campaign.

However, he made his return to the PSL in 2015 but could not make his mark at Kaizer Chiefs where he featured just 10 times over two seasons.

Following a disappointing spell with Amakhosi, Xulu joined the Team of Choice in 2017 and has revived his career to the extent that he has been touted for a return to the South African national team fold.

Coming to the Fadlu Davids’ coached outfit, the 26-year-old revealed that they have been fortunate as they have learned their lesson regarding complacency as early as the beginning of the season.

In the Premier Soccer League (PSL), the Team of Choice sits third and are on the verge of booking a spot in the Caf Confederation Cup for the very first time.

Meanwhile, having already beaten the Brazilians in the MTN8 Cup at the beginning of this term, the former Chiefs central defender said that Maritzburg deserve to finish in the top four.

“This could be the season where Maritzburg United go from being a so-called small team to a force,” Xulu told IOL.

“We are fortunate that we learned our lesson early into the season and we recovered quickly,” he reacted.

“We went through a dip after a good start that had led to us getting carried away thinking that we had arrived. We now deserve to finish in the top four,” said the Bafana Bafana international.

“Our biggest challenge this season is changing the perception about us as a club. We need to show people that this is also a club where you can realise your dreams,” continued the KwaMashu-born defender.

“You don’t have to go to a big club to achieve that. Trust me, I’ve been there,” Xulu concluded.

The clash against his former bosses will be staged on Sunday at 15:00, and Xulu will want to ensure that they reach the final which will be staged in Cape Town next month.