Jele happy to be back on the pitch
Posted: 16 February 2018 Time: 09:00
He’s been away for a while, but Orlando Pirates defender Happy Jele is delighted to be back on the pitch for the Buccaneers.
Jele made his first appearance since September when Bucs lost 3-0 to Ajax Cape Town a little over two weeks ago in the Mother City. He came off in the second half, but then played 90 minutes in Pirates’ 2-1 league victory against Maritzburg United and the Nedbank Cup last 32 win over the Urban Warriors last weekend.
He has made eight appearances in all competitions this season, but Pirates have done well in his absence, with Gladwin Shitolo and Ntsikelelo Nyauza forming a solid partnership in central defence.
“At this moment I have played three games [in 2018]. I think I still need to improve in a lot of areas in my game, but I am happy at this moment. As you know I missed half of the season because of injuries,” Jele tells KickOff.com.
“The team has been doing well with players that have been playing, so I was waiting for my chance. The chance came at the right time when I was ready, so I have to grab my chance now and play for the team.”
Jele was at the Nedbank Cup draw in Randburg, Johannesburg last night. Pirates were given an away draw against Cape Town City in the last 16, a tough match which they need to win to get closer to ending their trophy drought.
Pirates have not won a trophy since 2014, when they won the same competition at Moses Mabhida Stadium, beating Bidvest Wits in the final.
“It’s a difficult draw, but we are looking forward to it. We are going to play against a team we play with in the league, so it’s better for us [compared to playing a lower division team]. We know them, but we have to work harder so that we go to the next round,” Jele says.
The 31-year-old defender is hoping the Buccaneers can finish the season on a high by winning the cup competition, but knows it won’t be easy.
“We can’t predict the future, but we are looking forward to this one. We are taking it one game at a time. If we pass this stage, then we are going to have a different game [in the next round].”