Chabalala: Orlando Pirates loan defender back to Bloemfontein Celtic

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Justice Chabalala, Bloemfontein Celtic, February 2020
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The 28-year-old had several offers but Phunya Sele Sele won the race to keep him in the Free State until June 2021

Justice Chabalala will not be going back to Orlando Pirates for the 2020-21 PSL season after striking a deal with Bloemfontein Celtic

Speaking to Daily Sun, agent Ratshibvumo Mulovhedzi said the Buccaneers have agreed to loan the lanky defender back to Phunya Sele Sele for another season.

"Pirates loaned Chabalala back to Celtic," confirmed Mulovhedzi. "And it's a one-year agreement," added the agent.

Chabalala spent the second half of last season on loan at Celtic after he was deemed surplus to requirements by the Bucs technical team which was led by both Milutin Sredojevic and Rhulani Mokwena. 

The decision to let him stay at Celtic was prompted by the arrival of Thulani Hlatshwayo from Bidvest Wits earlier this week. 

Hlatshwayo signed a four-year deal with an option to renew for another year, and his acquisition means Chabalala's chances of commanding a regular place in Josef Zinnbauer's team would have been limited. 

Upon his arrival in Bloemfontein this year, Chabalala quickly cemented his place in the Celtic starting line-up, missing just two of the team's 11 matches this year. 

Chabalala featured prominently in the Nedbank Cup as Siwelele made it to the final where they lost to Mamelodi Sundowns

Overall, the 28-year-old made 15 appearances across all competitions for the Bloemfontein-based outfit. 

The retention of the Giyani-born centre-back will certainly be a welcome relief to the Celtic supporters, especially after struggling to replace Alfred Ndengane who left the club for the Buccaneers two seasons ago.

At Pirates, Chabalala was used sparingly even though he often impressed whenever he was on the pitch. 

In fact, Bucs fans expected Chabalala to command a regular place in their beloved team after watching him in action in the Carling Black Label Cup last year. 

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However, the technical team had other ideas, playing him just once in the team's 3-0 loss to SuperSport United on August 14. 

Now, it remains unclear if Chabalala still has a future at Pirates after these latest developments, especially because his contract is coming to an end in June 2021.

The player previously revealed that he would like to retire at Mayfair but that dream appears to be on hold for now.  

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