AmaZulu have refuted allegations made by former striker Rhulani Manzini that his tenure at the club was spoiled by tribalism with the club supporters calling him names which eventually led to his departure.
“The tribalism is the reason I left AmaZulu. It did make me leave the following season. I didn’t want anything to do with the club. I didn’t want to be in that space. One of the managers said to me ‘it is better if you play away matches and not home matches,” claimed Manzini in an interview on Power FM.
“I never settled because of tribalism. For me, it was something I could not believe that it still happens. The supporters call you names even before you can play – ‘we want this and that to play’. You get destroyed mentally and ask yourself ‘is this really still happening in South Africa?’
The KwaZulu Natal outfit released a statement on Monday expressing their ‘extreme displeasure’ with regards to the comments made by Manzini.
“Unfounded accusations of tribalism stemming from our supporters and bias amongst the team’s management structures are false and have brought the club into disrepute,” reads the club’s statement.
During his time at AmaZulu, Manzini made 21 appearances in all competitions finding the back of the net on five occasions.
“Not once did Rhulani (Manzini) report that he was being harassed, by supporters of the club, for his MuTsonga background. It became evident that a large portion of our fans were unhappy with his performances and he became subject to that pressure, however he was not the only one,” said ‘Usuthu’ team manager Qedi Dlamini.
“It got to the point whereby we had to call meetings with our supporters, asking them to refrain from being negative towards our players, when the team wasn’t doing well.
“The supporters club even came to training to reassure our squad that they were behind us 100%. We are a multiracial club and it’s been that way since the 1970s,” he said.
The 32-year-old forward said that he informed the club’s captain about the treatment he was receiving from the club and its followers.
Dlamini also denied claims by the former Chippa United player, stating that he was not asked to sit out of home games by the club manager.
“I never suggested that he play away games only, how can I do that knowing that I would be interfering with team selection. The season he left, was the season he had many problems with our technical team, which he reported to us but beyond that, he lost his starting position and it was hard for him to accept,” added Dlamini.
“With this being said, this is not an issue we take lightly, especially with the severity of the claims made having the potential to cause unrest within the footballing community.
“We will be consulting with the necessary parties and decide on the best way to take this matter forward,” concluded the AmaZulu team manager.
By FARPost Reporter