There was one beautiful moment from Andile Jali in Mamelodi Sundowns’ PSL meeting with Sekhukhune United on Saturday that served as an ample reminder of just what a class act he is.
And there are one or two who may need reminding just what the midfielder has to offer.
His current employers, perhaps, who continue to neglect offering him a new deal even as he enters the final five minutes of his current contract.
Or Hugo Broos perhaps, who overlooked the midfielder last term despite his sterling form in the domestic top flight for the Brazilians.
Against Sekhukhune on Saturday, Jali ran the show in the midfield for Sundowns, rolling back the years to demonstrate to both Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates just why they ought to be considering him as a summer signing.
Jali’s performance was class from the opening minutes.
This was witnessed by Twitter user @22Ours, who captured a screenshot—five minutes and 57 minutes into the match—with Jali taking the ball from the goalkeeper, looking up, and attempting to build the play for the reigning PSL champions.
This wasn’t just ‘building from the back’, this was ‘building from your own six-yard box’, with Jali claiming the ball from keeper Denis Onyango and attempting to dictate the tempo from deep.
“Only Andile Jali has the confidence and arrogance to play out from the back from a goal kick,” wrote @22Ours, “that’s always been his job.
“Mhlekazi,” he added emphatically, demonstrating his respect for the midfield general.
This one Jali moment—and many others during the course of the contest—showcased the qualities that really must make him top of Chiefs and Pirates’ priority lists during the final days of the transfer window.
As the observer points out, Jali has both the confidence and arrogance that—particularly for Chiefs—has been badly missing in recent months.
His desire to step up and take responsibility, to make things happen, to seek possession and attempt to control the play for his team, are all characteristics that should make him such a sought-after talent in the modern PSL environment.
This poise in midfield is exactly what Pirates were lacking when they were beaten by the same opponent—Sekhukhune United—and control in the heart of the park was exactly what Chiefs were missing when they were dispatched by the same opponent earlier this month.
Until Jali puts pen to paper on a new deal at Sundowns, his future remains up in the air, and this creates a window of opportunity that Pirates and particularly, Chiefs, must absolutely capitalise upon if they’re to reassert themselves at the pinnacle of the PSL.