Former AmaZulu star Sphiwe Naval Mavimbela has sadly passed away. Mavimbela was part of AmaZulu side that won the league title in 1972 along with the late Cedric “Sugar Ray” Xulu.
That is the last time the oldest club in the DStv Premiership won the league title.
The family statement was released via Ethekwini municipality: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of our father and grandfather Naval Sphiwe Mavimbela. He departed the land of the living on Monday, 10 January 2022 at his home in Umlazi.”
Mavimbela started his professional soccer career started with Hellenic Hotspurs FC, Buffalos FC, and Lamontville Golden Arrows FC.
While Mavimbela was at Golden Arrows FC, it was also at the time when AmaZulu were known as Zulu Royals during their serious challenges in NPSL, having lost six games in a row.
He was among the top-quality players that were recruited by coach Chris “Speak it” Ngcobo to save the sinking ship in 1972.
Sphiwe Naval Mavimbela
The recruits were a force to be reckoned with as they won the first game that they played against Witbank Aces at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu.
After that 5-3 victory, Zulu Royals never looked back and went from strength to strength to finally win the championship title with the likes of Richard Ngubane and Sugar Ray and Fred Mfeka to mention just a few.
He last played for AmaZulu FC in 1974 under coach Clive Barker.
His family described Mkholo as a “passionate about the beautiful game of football such that even when he hung his boots, he coached Umlazi United on the 3rd Division now called Motsepe League division. As a man of many talents, he was also in the choir of Amadodana from Natal.”
He worked at various places including James Brown, Hammer LTD, Natal Anthracite Coal Mines (KwaMnyathi) as manager.
He also worked for Central Statistic Services (CSS) as a Manager until his retirement.
He is survived by his wife Thembisile Esther Mavimbela (MaNkabinde), his sister, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
He will be laid to rest on Saturday.