Orlando Pirates captain Happy Jele signs new deal

Happy Jele, Orlando Pirates
The experienced defender, who has been loyal to Bucs for many years, has been rewarded with a new contract

Orlando Pirates veteran Happy Jele has extended his stay with the club by signing a new contract.

The 31-year-old player, who’s the longest serving player in the current Bucs squad having joined the club in 2006, saw his previous contract expire at the of June 2018.

The Buccaneers have since offered him a new deal which he has signed ahead of the year 2018/19 campaign which scheduled to start this weekend.

Pirates made the announcement on their official website:

A club statement read: “Orlando Pirates Football Club can confirm that captain Happy Jele has signed on the dotted line to extend his stay on board the Buccaneers ship for another season.”

“The deal was concluded after a brief meeting between the player and club management on Tuesday.”

“Jele will be celebrating his 12th season as an Orlando Pirates player when the 2018/19 season kicks off this weekend.”

Jele is expected to lead Pirates when they face Highlands in their first PSL game of the season at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Pirates also announced that Augustine Mahlonoko has been promoted to the club’s l first team.

The attacking midfielderimpressed on the club’s recent Project X trip to Brazil earlier in the year and he has been training with the Bucs first team.

Mahlonoko has done enough to impress the first team coaches and support staff and take the jump into the professional setup.

The highly-rated 16-year-old attacker is pleased to have secured promotion to the Pirates first team.

“I am thankful to all those who were involved in me getting promoted. This is a special moment for me and my family,” said Mahlonoko, who hails from the Vaal, on the site.

“I have learnt a lot since being with the first team during pre-season but there’s a lot that I still need to learn and I welcome that because it can only make me a better player,” he continued.

“Though I am happy to be promoted, I will not let this get to my head because in all honestly, this is only the beginning. Those above me have shown faith in me by getting me promoted, I now need to prove myself,” he concluded.

Pirates’ academy director Augusto Palacios stated that this promotion of Mahlonoko gives “hope to the boys who are still in the academy.”

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“I welcome what has been happening in the first team lately. The forward thinking Technical Team understands the importance of development which is why you can see the trail of young players promoted in recent times,” he said.

“The promotion of Mahlonoko is even more significant because it gives all the youngsters in the academy hope that they too can make it,” he continued.

“Look, a player like Mahlonoko never even played in the MDC, he was selected straight after impressing at U17 level and later on during the Project X tour. All this shows that anything is possible if you stay focused and dedicated to your craft,” he concluded.