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Happy Jele close to signing for Royal AM after shock Pirates exit: source

Former Orlando Pirates captain Happy Jele is being courted by Royal AM.
Former Orlando Pirates captain Happy Jele is being courted by Royal AM.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Former Orlando Pirates defender Happy Jele has been linked with a move to big-spenders Royal AM.

This is after the veteran defender was released by the Buccaneers on Monday. Dedicated servant Jele had spent 16 years playing for Bucs and when the club announced on Monday they were not renewing the 35-year-old’s contract, this came as a shock to the SA transfer market.

Insiders have revealed that the tall Middelburg-born centreback is finalising personal terms with the KwaZulu-Natal club owned by flamboyant businesswoman Shauwn “MaMkhize” Mkhize and her son Andile Mpisane.

This is Royal’s second season in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), after they bought the status of Bloemfontein Celtic at the beginning of the 2021-2022 season. They finished third on the PSL table and qualified for the next season’s Caf Confederation Cup.

“Royal AM want Jele for their Confederation Cup campaign. Happy has led Pirates in various Caf competitions, so he will be able to guide the PSL newbies when they play in their first ever African safari,” said a well-placed source who did not want to be named.

“The club believe that with Jele and Ricardo Nascimento in the heart of their defence, they will have a strong and resolute backline. The club will soon unveil him and other players as their latest additions.”

Jele penned an emotional farewell statement to the Buccaneers.

“When the [Pirates] chair [Irvin Khoza] invited me to his office to offer me a non-playing position I was humbled, but at the same time shocked as I personally wasn’t ready to take off the badge yet,” the player said.

“Yes, I was offered an opportunity on the non-playing staff, and I gracefully expressed my desire to play for another season or two before I hang up my boots.

“I therefore wish to inform my fans and the Ghost [Pirates fans] that I won’t be lost in the black and white family, but will take a year or two break away from the club to possibly pursue my interest in playing before I call it quits or even make my way back to the Ghost, but time will tell.

“The opportunity afforded to me by the chair will be highly considered during my time away from the only club I played for in my professional football career. No-one can predict the future but hopefully I will be back at the club one day in a different capacity.”


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