My Ten: 10 things you didn’t know about Philani Zulu

  • Philani Wisdom Zulu was born in Elandskop, which is close to Pietermaritzburg. The house was next to a river. He spent his first years at the farm of his grandfather Khihlibane. There were all kinds of cattle, from chickens, cows, goats to ducks.

 

  • His parents moved to Pietermaritzburg when Philani was 10-years-old, although they still visited the farm on the weekend. “I lived two lives – that of an urbanite during the week and a rural boy on the weekend. It wasn’t always easy to adapt.”

 

  • Zulu didn’t have any particular soccer idol that he followed during his youth. That’s mainly because he often changed position, from striker, winger to left-back. Philani presently follows Marcelo (Real Madrid) and Marcos Rojo (Manchester United) closely. “They are both attacking wing-backs, like me. I learn a lot from their tactics and play.”

 

  • He loves to play the piano, which started when attending the youth service of the local Methodist Church. Philani is self-taught. “I just had a song in my head, listened to the sound of the different keys and started playing.”

 

  • Philani is usually called just ‘Zulu’. That’s also what the supporters sing. However, at home and also some teammates call him ‘Mapikza’, which is slang for Philani.

 

  • He loves dancing, usually to the sounds of Hip-Hop, House or R&B. “That was my first talent,” Philani explains. “It’s a way of expressing myself.”

 

  • His big buddy at Kaizer Chiefs is teammate Dumsani Zuma. “We come from the same place, Pietermaritzburg, so we can relate to a lot of things back home.” They will visit a mall, have lunch or just chill together at one of their homes.

 

  • He was very nearly lost to soccer. Philani used to be a promising shooting guard and the basketball team from KZN that had heard about his talent was about to come and scout him. Zulu, however, indicated that his love for soccer was just too much to be replaced by basketball.

 

  • Zulu only drinks water or milk, nothing else.

 

  • “The feeling to play for Kaizer Chiefs is unexplainable. I just want somebody to enter my body so that person could see for themselves. However, the moment you enter the stadium before the game and then when you raise your hands to show the Kaizer Chiefs sign of Love & Peace… It’s awesome, the best feeling one can possibly imagine. I would not trade it for anything.”