South African football fans may have winced when they heard that another PSL club had been sold, but there are reasons to believe that Sandile Zungu’s acquisition of Amazulu could bring delight for the Usuthu faithful.
Zungu has promised to transform the club from relegation-threatened strugglers into a top-four powerhouse and moreover has intimated that Amazulu will remain based in KwaZulu-Natal.
“AmaZulu will no longer be a team that is fighting relegations, starting this year,” Zungu said at the announcement of the sale of Amazulu.
“If we fail to make the top four, we will have failed,” the businessman added.
Who is Sandile Zungu?
Zungu heads up Zungu Investment Company (Zico) an investment firm with a diverse portfolio.
Zico describe themselves as a a long-term, performance-driven investment holding company. They have a stake in businesses operating in a variety of sectors including mining, energy, manufacturing and gaming.
“Zungu Investments Co. has been a deep-rooted, performance-driven investment holding company for almost two decades. We are a young, dynamic team of entrepreneurial professionals whose investment philosophy is guided by long-term partnerships.
“Through the solid foundations that our founder, Sandile Zungu has set out, we have affirmed ourselves as an active leader in the investment arena. Our investment philosophy forms the cornerstone of all of our investment decisions.
“We incorporate the notion of transformation across all business spheres. As a BBBEE level I company, we aspire to make a significant impact on the lives of all South Africans, and in particular, the youth and previously disadvantaged.”
According to their stated investment philosophy: “Zico invests in businesses with a sustainable business model and a strong track-record, with significant growth prospects.”
The Durban-born businessman is also a philanthropist whose is involved in social development through the Zico Foundation which has focused on education and youth skills development.
“Zungu was born in the Umlazi township, Durban in 1967. He matriculated from the Vukuzakhe High School, and went on to complete his post Matric at Hilton College in 1994. He holds a BSc (Mechanical Engineering) degree from the University of Cape Town (UCT). He further completed the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the UCT Graduate School of Business. Zungu obtained the Program for Global Leadership certificate from the Harvard Business School in Boston, USA.
“Zungu can be described as a driven individual, that resonates a true entrepreneurial spirit. He believes that investments are key to economic advancement and sustainability. Inspiring transformation, through business empowerment, Zungu is a dedicated leader, unwilling to compromise on the aspirations of inclusive growth and equal economic participation. Zungu leads the Black Business Council to be the definitive voice of Black Business and a strategic centre of power for Black business in general. He further serves as a member of the BBBEE Presidential Advisory Council.”
Sandile Zungu biography from zico.co.za
What next for Amazulu?
Unlike Highlands Park and Bidvest Wits, the sale of Amazulu is one that goes beyond the franchise and is unlikely to affect the identity of the historic club that will celebrate its centenary in 2032.
Amazulu finished just one point above Black Leopards who were forced to endure the promotion-relegation playoffs to preserve their PSL status.
Zungu has promised to get Amazulu into the frame to win a league title for the first time since Usuthu’s 1972 NPSL triumph.
In the PSL-era Amazulu have never finished above seventh and since they returned to the top-flight in 2017 they have finished in the bottom half of the table every season.
Whether Zungu can achieve his ambitions remains to be seen and would likely require significant investment.