Mbatha’s rise to ‘Usuthu’ captaincy

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AmaZulu goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha has proved his quality between the sticks once again in the current season.

The 31-year-old player had a slow start to the campaign while battling with Moeneeb Josephs and Neil Boshoff for a place in the starting line-up. Mbatha managed to make the club’s number one jersey his own in September 2019 and never looked back.

His outstanding performances against SuperSport United, Baroka FC and Stellenbosch FC inspired Usuthu to three successive victories in the Absa Premiership.

The former Bloemfontein Celtic keeper kept two clean sheets in the process and the team moved close to the top eight on the league standings. Picture: AmaZulu FC.

However, Mbatha was slowed down by an unfortunate injury during AmaZulu’s defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns in November 2019.

The bulky keeper had to be taken to the hospital after sustaining a fracture below his left eye during the match.

As a result, Mbatha was sidelined for a few weeks and he only made his return to action in the KwaZulu Natal Derby against Maritzburg United in January 2020.

Mbatha then produced a Man of the Match performance in Usuthu’s next match as they succumbed to a narrow defeat to Orlando Pirates in Soweto.

Mbatha, who had been handed AmaZulu club captaincy as a reward for his impressive displays, was finding his best form between the sticks.

The former Thanda Royal Zulu shot-stopper then played a key role in helping Usuthu secure wins over Polokwane City and Kaizer Chiefs while keeping clean sheets in the process. Picture: AmaZulu FC.

However, the season has since been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic and the country has gone into lockdown in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Looking at his stats, the imposing goalkeeper has kept four clean sheets in 15 league matches this term making him a key player in Ayanda Dlamini’s side.

Blessed with impressive agility and fantastic reflexes, Mbatha will be looking to carry on from where he left off when the current season resumes.

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By AmaZulu FC

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