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Ex-Orlando Pirates skipper Jele opens up on why he remains clubless

17:24 EAT 01/12/2022
Siphiwe Tshabalala & Happy Jele, November 2022
Former Orlando Pirates captain Jele dismisses talk that he has retired after he was spotted participating in a Caf C coaching course.
  • Jele was released by Pirates in July
  • He insists he is yet to retire
  • The defender explains why he remains unattached

WHAT HAPPENED? The Buccaneers decided against renewing the 35-year-old defender’s contract in July and he has been a free agent since then. The Soweto giants offered him a non-playing role which he turned down as he insisted he still wanted to continue with his playing career. However, five months after being released by the club, Jele remains unattached.

At one time he was linked with a move to Royal AM but nothing materialised. Following his continued stay out of competitive football, there were rumours the centre-back would not come back to play after he was recently part of a group studying for a Caf C coaching badge.

However, he has poured cold water on talk that he is ready to step into coaching while also explaining why he has failed to find a club.

WHAT JELE SAID: “I think for now there is nothing that has been like a tangible offer that came straight to me but I’m still looking and still available,” Jele told iDiski Times. “If a team comes now and they are looking for my services, I’m willing to listen to them because I still have a lot to offer in this game.

“So far I have not thought about giving myself a deadline. But you will never know, maybe tomorrow I can wake up thinking differently. For now, I think I can continue playing and I’m still in shape and continuing to train on my own even though it’s very hard to do that. But when there’s something that you want in life, you keep faith in it.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: When Jele left Pirates, there were doubts the club will find an experienced replacement for him. Thulani Hlatswayo and Ntsikelelo Nyauza also left the Buccaneers during the same period.

However, the Soweto giants ultimately found apt replacements in Nkosinathi Sibisi and Tapelo Xoki, and the duo’s arrival led to Pirates improving at the back.


WHAT NEXT FOR JELE? Jele can sign for a new club anytime and clubs are free to open talks with the defender who made more than 400 appearances for Pirates in 16 years at the club.