The AmaZulu Story
AmaZulu is a South African professional football club based in the coastal city of Durban, KwaZulu Natal. Formed in 1932 by Zulu migrant workers, the club was originally known as Zulu Royals. The club’s nickname, ‘Usuthu’, is a Zulu war cry.
The existence of the team started in the early 1930’s when it was known as Zulu Royal Conquerors.
After performing well in their games, the team was introduced to the Zulu King that was King Solomon. kaDinizulu in 1932 and then King Solomon decided to change the team’s name to Zulu Royals. The King gave the team owners the right to use the Shield as their logo and changed the team colours to royal blue and white.
Initially Prince Bayisikili was placed as the team guardian at eMsizini and later replaced by Prince Sithela and the teams headquarter was at the eMbelebeleni Royal Kraal by then the team colours had changed to bottle green and white.
On the day of King Bhekizulu Funeral in the year 1968, the team went to play a Cup game against SAPPI Homestars at eMandeni, which they lost 4-2. On the day of the funeral the club was suppose to escort the King’s coffin but Mr. Shezi , Mr. Nsele, Mr. Magwaza ended up escorting the king wearing the teams uniform.
After that game an argument had broken up between the supporters of the club because some of them including Prince Sithela criticized the fact that, how could the team play a game on the day of the funeral of the Zulu King, when the team was supposed to mourn the king’s death. The continuation of the argument led to Mr Gideon Sibiya and Mr. Ntuli who accompanied the club to eMandeni decided to take the club away from eMbelebeleni to eWema and then it was no longer recognized at the eMbelebeleni Royal Kraal.
At the end of 1970 the remaining committee members consisting of Mr Mkhize and Mr Ralph Mabaso decided to rebuild the team from scratch, recruited players, acquired a kit and appointed Mr Bethuel Masondo as the team manager. The committee went on to register the club as Zulu Royals United and Mr. Bethuel Masondo was the sole director. They decided to take the team back to eMbelebeleni Royal Kraal as its headquarters.
In 1971 a team called African Wanderers which was located in Kwazulu Natal were experiencing problems while playing in the National Professional League (NPSL) which led the NPSL to take a decision that the KwaZulu Natal Football Association must suspend African Wanderers from the NPSL and then recommend another team from KwaZulu Natal to replace them. The KwaZulu Natal Football Association then recommended the following teams: Union Jacks, Durban City All Black, Zulu Royals United Directors or Young Dribblers.
The National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) at that time chairman, Mr RD Sishi, decided that Zulu Royal’s United must replace African Wanderers in the NPSL because Zulu Royals was a team which represented the Zulu Nation from the Royal Kraal and that it has a support base more than the clubs that were recommended.
In 1971 Zulu Royals replaced African Wanderers and went on to finish 6th on the log and were voted club of the year. The following year in 1972 the club won the N.P.S.L league title securing 44 points from 26 matches and only losing 2 games.
In 1973 Zulu Royal suffered a huge set back when the then manager Mr. Bethwell Masondo left the club and took with him several prominent players which split the club. After this unfortunate incident the club went into a mid-season slump that would see them not being able to successful defend their league title. In 1974, the running of the club was taken over by the supporters and in the same year, the team changed to AmaZulu Football Club. Some supporters led by Mr. Francis Dlamini who managed the reserve team decided to part ways with the reserve team to Bhekizulu hall and renamed back Zulu Royals United and its nickname were esikotshi”.
Other Directors that followed were Mr, Manana and Mr. Nxumalo who bought the team for R 4000.00, Mr. Merikan Madlala from Lamontville, then followed a committee made of Mr. Ngongoma, Mr. Duma, Mr. Mathe, Mr. Dlamini, Mr.Biyela and Nhleko. In 1985 the National Soccer League was formed and AmaZulu entered a new phase of their history under the leadership of Mr. David Dlamini.
In 1987, Clive Barker coached AmaZulu FC to finals of mainstay Cup and Iwisa Charity Cup, where they were narrowly defeated twice by Kaizer Chiefs. In 1990 the club reached the Bob Save Super Bowl final which they lost with a last minute goal against Jomo Cosmos, in 1992 the club won the inauguration Coca Cola Cup and finished 3rd on the log in 1993.
After Mr. Dlamini then followed Spar Natal , Mr. Ncanana, Mr. Dan Naidoo, Mr. Mike Segal , Mr. Dave King after him was Mr Sisa Bikisha in 2002, who then changed the name AmaZulu F.C to Zulu Royals.
In 2005, Dr Patrick Sokhela bought the team from Mr Sisa Bikisha, decided to revive the once mighty outfit of the Zulus by renaming the team back to AmaZulu Football Club.
This initiative was after many consultative meetings with the supporters in Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng, who wanted the old name AmaZulu FC back.