Better known as Sugar Ray, so named for his boxing style that was said to resemble the famous Sugar Ray Leonard, Thulani Cedric Xulu is our Legend of the Month for April. Despite his nickname, it was in soccer that Xulu made a name for himself, and is today considered one of AmaZulu’s most legendary players.

He began his professional soccer career at the age of 22, playing for Avalon Athletic Football from 1961-1964. Over the next few years Xulu moved between Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland), Clermont Home Defenders and Hammaskraal United, before finally being signed by Zulu Royals (now AmaZulu Football Club) in 1971. Xulu was with the Royals when they won their one and only league title in 1972, with the 2008 eThekwini Living Legend scoring one of the winning goals.

Despite his retirement from professional soccer in 1983, Xulu still maintains his passion for the sport and has close ties to his old football club. Xulu was recently diagnosed with cancer, and AmaZulu responded by establishing the Sugar Ray Xulu Legacy Programme, that amongst other things, will raise funds to help pay for Xulu’s medical care. At a recent benefit day hosted by AmaZulu, close to R130 000 was raised in honour of Sugar Ray.

We wish Sugar Ray a speedy recovery, and thank him for the inspiration he has provided, and the joy that he has brought – and continues to bring – to all of his soccer fans.