Former AmaZulu striker Rhulani Manzini has hit back at the Premier Soccer League (PSL) outfit following the club’s denial of his tribalism claims.
The Limpopo-born hitman revealed the reasons behind his departure from Usuthu in a radio interview with PowerFM, saying he was a victim of tribalism during his stay with the Durban-based club between 2017 and 2018.
Although the club has swiftly refuted the claims, 32-year-old says he had to deal with the issue alone as the club failed to offer professional help.
“Obviously they will deny it because they don’t want to lose their sponsors,” said Manzini as quoted by DailySun.
“But what do I have to gain by lying about such a thing? It took me a long time to be able to speak about it. This thing is just as bad as racism. It eats you inside and makes you feel inferior as a human being.
“I had to speak to a professional about it because I was so disturbed. The club did not even offer to help me in that regard.
“I had to deal with this thing on my own. They just acted like nothing happened, like I was making all of it up. That is why they are even denying that it exists in that club.”
The former Chilli Boys striker also alleges that his family was affected, saying Usuthu decided not to deal with the matter whilst making it clear he remained professional even after falling down the pecking order.
“My family was also affected because my wife would not come to the stadium when I was playing. She could not take it,” he added.
“Tribalism is something they do not deal with decisively, but instead try to sweep under the carpet when it constantly rears its ugly head.
“I am a professional football player. I know that sometimes I will play and other times I will be on the bench. That is just a ridiculous excuse. I have been benched many times. In fact, I love competition. It gets the best out of me.
“I just want to be treated like a human being. I was the leading scorer. I left because I was not feeling at home anymore. It should never be like this where a person of this tribe must play and others must not.
“We are all professionals, but beyond that, we are human beings. It is sad these things are happening in this day and age, especially in a country like this with the history and kind of oppression that we have.”
Meanwhile, the club’s team manager Qedi Dlamini denied Manzini’s claims in a statement this week, saying they have been a multiracial institution since the 1970s and that the Bushbuckridge-born player had never reported harassment by the supporters.