How former Kaizer Chiefs star Xulu was converted from a striker into a defender

Siyanda Xulu - Maritzburg United
The Bafana Bafana man has established himself as one of the best defenders in South Africa, having started out as an attacker

Siyanda Xulu’s development coach Lindani Shezi said he did not doubt his protege’s career was going to flourish after he turned the former Kaizer Chiefs star from being a striker into a defender.

Shezi says Xulu briefly quit football in frustration and attempted to pursue a music career before he convinced the player to return to the game where he coached him at eThekwini Coastal.

“I discovered Siyanda when he was 14 years. He had given up on football at that time,” said Shezi as per IOL.

“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. I converted Siyanda to a centre-back. He played for our Under-15, 17 and 19's. He captained all those sides because he has got leadership skills.”

After playing some good football for eThekwini Coastal, Xulu was snapped up by Kaizer Chiefs, before Mamelodi Sundowns took him away from the Soweto giants.

He later returned to Chiefs following a stint at Russian side Rostov.

“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 said.

Shezi who is now a development coach at Golden Arrows hails Xulu as a “born leader.”

“He has been a disciplined player since a young age. You’ll never find him making headlines for the wrong reasons, he is a born leader,” said Shezi.

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“I had no doubt that he would play in the national team and go overseas. He is one of the most humble and disciplined players.”

The former Maritzburg United star who can play as a centre-back or right-back recently returned to Europe where he joined Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Israeli top-flight league.

His move back to Europe came amid reported interest from Orlando Pirates.