Soccer

AmaZulu's little Argentine Emiliano Tade is blowing up Mzansi football

AmaZulu thankful to the Argentina striker for digging them out of the relegation hole

16 December 2018 - 00:04 By SAZI HADEBE
Emiliano Tade has been in blazing form.
Emiliano Tade has been in blazing form.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

All Emiliano Tade wanted was to be a lawyer, but when an opportunity to play in New Zealand's top league presented itself in 2010 he didn't think twice about leaving his studies and native Argentina.

As a 22-year-old striker Tade joined Team Wellington where he spent a year before being snapped up by New Zealand giants Auckland City, where he stayed for seven fruitful years before heading to AmaZulu FC in July on a free transfer.

"Having grown up in a football-mad country, football was in my genes, but I didn't consider myself good enough to be a professional until I had a chance to test my skills in New Zealand," Tade told the Sunday Times from Durban this week after his brace in a 3-0 home win against Bloemfontein Celtic lifted AmaZulu out of the relegation zone.

Coming to SA was not only about football, but SA's history and how the country unchained herself from her darkest past intrigued me. I wanted to experience the miracle

"I really enjoyed myself in New Zealand, winning three league titles with Auckland and competed with them in Fifa Club World Cup for seven years in a row.

"I have special memories about my time in Auckland, but at the back of my mind I always had something telling me I must go and prove myself in SA.

"Coming to SA was not only about football, but SA's history and how the country unchained herself from her darkest past intrigued me. I wanted to experience the miracle."

At AmaZulu, a team he joined on a three-year contract, Tade has created more wonderful memories for both himself and the Durban club.

Tade's arrival at AmaZulu coincided with the club's acting chairman Lunga Sokhela committing one of the gravest mistakes - defying the ruling of Fifa and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sokhela's error led to Usuthu being docked six valuable league points and fined over Rlm in relation to the compensation of their former Namibian player, Phinheas Nambadi.

The player had only been seeking R300,000 in what proved to be a costly mistake for Usuthu, both on and off the field.

Asked how as a club they resolved to pull themselves out of a sticky situation created by one of their own, Tade said there was no point crying over something they had no powers to reverse.

"There was only one way to respond to the point deduction. We had to show our commitment to the club on the field. So far I think we have responded well though I would be lying if I say we are out of the woods," said Tade, whose brace against Celtic took his league tally to five in the nine matches he's played.

Not a striker blessed with a big frame, Tade thrives on picking up passes and lost balls around the area where he uses his silky skills and great touch to cooly finish, something many SA-born marksmen struggle with.

"I must credit my striking partners (Bonginkosi Ntuli, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Mabhudi Khenyeza and Ovidy Karuru) for the goals I have scored. They create a lot of space for me but it's not about me and the number of goals I score, it's about helping the team."

Tade's form is in line with what Cavin Johnson's team had done in their past four league matches ahead of yesterday's away league tie against Black Leopards.

In those matches Usuthu collected 10 points and moved to 11th spot after drawing 0-0 at home to Polokwane City and beat Highlands Park 2-1 and Chippa United 1-0, both away, before Wednesday night's 3-0 home triumph against Celtic.

"It's awesome isn't it, but it helps that the coach (Johnson) is always reminding everyone that we haven't accomplished anything. We 've had a good run, showed great character and there's a possibility of getting more than we've bargained for if we keep improving on our form."

As for his abandoned studies, Tade has no regrets and his time at AmaZulu has been a dream even though he misses his girlfriend back in New Zealand.

"She's a businesswoman, but I'm glad she's been to Durban to visit me. So far things are working out for us," he said.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

FIFA RECORD

Born in Santiago del Estero, Emiliano Tade held the record for most number of consecutive games played in the Fifa Club World Cup. He appeared for Auckland City at seven tournaments from 2011 to 2017

NEW ZEALAND CHAMPIONS

Tade won three New Zealand championships with Auckland City in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2017-18

TOP SCORER

Tade won the top scorer award in New Zealand last season after scoring 16 league goals

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.