The 33-year-old is the longest-serving player in the current squad and he’s been rewarded for his loyalty to the club
Orlando Pirates have rewarded defender and captain Happy Jele with a new one-year deal.
The veteran centre-back has been with the Buccaneers since 2006, and he’s become an important member of the club over the years.
Speaking to the club’s media team after putting pen to paper, Jele said Pirates have like a home for him since he arrived as a teenager 14 years ago.
“This is a place I called home since I joined as a 19-year old,” Jele told the Pirates website.
Jele stated he was never worried about his future at Pirates even after it expired at the end of the season.
Dr Irvin Khoza’s open-door policy is also what makes Jele feel at home at the club because the chairman makes time for his players, he said.
“The matter of the contract has never been an issue for me because this is home. I have a very good relationship with the Chairman, the door is always open for me. If ever I have issues, I can always go to him,” revealed Jele.
Upon the expiry of his contract, the management decided that Jele and a few players including Wayne Sandilands would be offered contract extensions to finish the season.
Jele and his teammates worked their socks off to guide the Buccaneers to a respectable third-place finish – a huge achievement given their early struggles to the campaign where they were often outside the Top 8 and in danger of missing out on next season’s MTN8.
With him staying for at least another year, the club’s faithful would now hope the management brings in someone to complement Jele at the heart of the Bucs defence.
Thulani Hlatshwayo is already reported to be on his way to Mayfair, but neither camp has spoken about the possible deal.
Jele is a veteran of over 300 matches under his belt for the Sea Robbers since making his debut against Maritzburg United in September 2006.
The 33-year-old has won all the trophies on offer as a professional footballer in South Africa.
He has won two league titles, two MTN8 titles, two Nedbank Cup titles and a Telkom Knockout Cup title.