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Zinnbauer wants Chabalala back at Orlando Pirates amidst growing interest from PSL clubs

09:11 SAST 2021/06/16
Justice Chabalala
Goal spoke exclusively to the lanky player's representative, with the Buccaneers expected to reinforce their squad and release some players soon

Bloemfontein Celtic central defender Justice Chabalala is set to return to Orlando Pirates following a successful season-long loan spell at Phunya Sele Sele. 

The 29-year-old player helped the Free State side avoid relegation from the PSL during the 2020/21 season and his exploits have attracted interest from several clubs. 

However, Chabalala's agent, Ratshibvumo Mulovhedzi, has disclosed that Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer is keen to bring the towering player back to the Houghton-based side.

"Yes, he is still an Orlando Pirates player and he is going back to Pirates. There is still interest from other clubs, but our only option is Pirates," Mulovhedzi told Goal

"He is not going anywhere unless Pirates tells us otherwise, but the coach [Zinnbauer[ told Justice that he wants him back at Pirates after their game against Celtic." 

Chabalala, who has been on the books of Pirates since July 2016, having joined the club from Free State Stars, has a lot of admirers ahead of the July-August transfer window. 

"There are clubs that are interested in him here in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town," Mulovhedzi concluded. 

Chabalala made 20 appearances across all competitions for Celtic during the recent campaign which was his second loan stint with the Free State giants.

The Limpopo-born player joined Celtic from Pirates midway through the 2019/2020 season on a short-term loan deal and he quickly became a key player for the team.

Phunya Sele Sele reached the 2020 Nedbank Cup final with Chabalala starting all of the team's five matches in the South African FA Cup under coaches Lehlohonolo Seema and John Maduka.

Celtic were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Mamelodi Sundowns in the final on the last day of the season and Chabalala returned to his parent club, where he was hoping to finally establish himself as a regular in the starting line-up.

However, Pirates had signed Bafana Bafana centre-back Thulani Hlatshwayo from Bidvest Wits to reinforce their defence, and Chabalala was sent out to Celtic on a season-long loan deal in September 2020.

He also spent the second round of the 2016/17 campaign on loan at Chippa United from Pirates.