A plea has been made to Orlando Pirates regarding the future of long-serving player and captain of the side.
Pirates will be expected to make a big decision regarding Happy Jele’s future in the coming weeks, as the veteran defender near the end of his contract.
The centre-back has just over four months left to run on his existing deal, having penned a one-year contract extension last year in June, though the club does have an option included in the deal.
If exercised, the option will see him at the club until the end of the 2021/22 season. The 33-year-old, who has been with the Soweto giants since 2006, continues to play a pivotal role in leading the team on the field under the mentorship of Josef Zinnbauer.
To date this season, Magents has amassed 18 appearances in the league, and was only unavailable in the other fixtures due to suspension, while he has featured in all the other competitions.
It is clear that Jele is a key player at the club and, although Pirates have not yet exercised the option, sources close to the player’s dealings have indicated that the defender is confident that he will be with Bucs next season.
Former teammate of Jele at Pirates, and ex-fellow defender Lizo Mjempu, is hoping for a long-term deal for the Middelburg-born player.
“I am hoping that Pirates will give Happy Jele a three-year contract extension. He is a very important member of the team and a good leader. I know him from my days at Pirates and from playing with him. He takes good care of himself on and off the field and he is such a gentleman. His presence in the Pirates line-up makes the difference and that’s why you could feel it when he is not there,” said Mjempu.
Jele will be expected to lead Pirates against Kaizer Chiefs in the upcoming Soweto Derby in their next match at the end of the month.
“Just look at what he usually does at half time, just before the players leave the field for the change room, when he talks to his teammates in that circle they usually form. That’s the leadership right there. He’s playing the role of a coach on the field. As a young coach myself, someone like Happy is inspiring, and I would need a player like that in my team. You need a ‘coach’ inside the field from one of your players. Happy is a great leader,” Mjempu told the Siya crew.