Jele continues on sidelines in search of new club

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Happy Jele his teammates during his last season at Orlando Pirates
Happy Jele his teammates during his last season at Orlando Pirates

The unusual situation faced by Happy Jele has been detailed as the former Orlando Pirates defender continues his search for a new club.

Jele is without a club for the first time in his career after parting ways with Pirates following 16 years of service.

He turned down a non-playing role that he was offered at Pirates choosing to continue playing at another club but is yet to move on up to now despite all the speculation. 

While Jele will be 36 on his next birthday on January 1, there are several players older than him doing duty in the PSL who include Elias Pelembe, Lindokuhle Mbatha, Washington Arubi, Onismor Bhasera, Bernard Parker, Mpho Makola, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Denis Onyango, Kennedy Mweene and Siyabonga Mpontshane amongst others.

"Age in football shouldn’t be what counts for any player," argues Jele’s former coach Augusto Palacios.

"How long did Lucky Lekgwathi play? How old is Cristiano Ronaldo now?

"As long as you are keeping yourself fit and in good shape you can play until any age and there is nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

"He (Jele) is still a good player, and we still have players at his age playing," says Palacios.

Happy Jele in action during his last match for Pir

Jele featured in 33 games last season for Pirates and scored four goals walking away having earned legendary status with the club where he grew his profile to the levels that he has reached.

"What we need to understand is that in football it also depends on the financial aspect.

"What is clear is that he is a consistent player who scores goals, but this is football.

“Every club has its policy, and we need to respect that especially when we are outside.

"When Benni McCarthy arrived here some people thought he was finished but look at what he did.

"I don’t believe age should determine if a particular player should continue playing.

"For me it must not be about the age, but the performance and I understand that with some clubs they don’t agree on the financial aspect.

"Age is nothing, but financial side is important because maybe some clubs cannot afford.

"Plus, some coaches prefer a different type of players," says Palacios.