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Royal AM unveil new coach Khabo Zondo and four new signings

Durban outfit Royal AM have appointed Khabo Zondo as their head coach after John Maduka left the club for KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United

FILE - Durban outfit Royal AM have appointed Khabo Zondo as their head coach after John Maduka left the club for KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United. Photo: Etienne Rothbart

Published Jul 1, 2022

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Durban — Khabo Zondo has been named as the new coach of Royal AM.

The former South Africa U20 coach succeeds John Maduka who surprisingly left the club at the end of last season despite earning praise last term and leading it to a surprise third place finish in the league.

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Along with Zondo, Royal AM also announced that Thabo Maloka has joined the club as a physical trainer. The 60-year-old Zondo will be tasked with leading Thwihli Thwahla in the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

While not the most decorated tactician in terms of silverware at senior level, the veteran Zondo brings in a wealth of experience to Royal AM having previously led Golden Arrows, Bloemfontein Celtic, Bay United and Royal Eagles in addition to his work at youth level.

Royal AM also unveiled four new signings in Andre De Jong, Khetha Ndlovu, Samir Nurkovic and Ruzaigh Gamildien. By joining Royal AM, former AmaZulu attacker De Jong makes a move across Durban after Usuthu opted to release him at the end of last season.

The New Zealander showed glimpses of quality during his time with Usuthu but ultimately failed to score a goal in three years with them. He will be hoping to now take his career to the next level while also regaining selection to the New Zealand national team.

Nurkovic joins after having been released by Kaizer Chiefs at the end of last season. The Serbian was poor last season as he scored just one league goal. However, the 30-year-old was one of the most feared strikers in the South African top-flight just two years ago and Zondo will be hoping to help him regain his touch.

It remains to be seen if Royal AM will manage to keep hold of star striker Victor Letsoalo. The striker scored 15 goals last season, the second most in the league behind only Peter Shalulile and has been linked with a potential move to Kaizer Chiefs. Tswihli Thwahla CEO Sinky Mnisi has said that the club will be open to selling Letsoalo should a big offer arrive.

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Should Letsoalo leave, it will be vital for Nurkovic and fellow new arrival Ruzaigh Gamildien to produce the goods up front. A left winger by trade, Khetha Ndlovu arrives along with Gamildien from Swallows FC.

One big strength of Ndlovu is that he is capable of playing on either side of the wing and will be expected to help contribute assists next season.

@eshlinv

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