Micho: Jele is like a fine wine

Nedbank Cup

Jele has been ever-present for The Buccaneers this season, having started 27 of the team’s 29 matches in all competitions – missing only the two CAF Champions League preliminary round fixtures against Seychellois outfit Light Stars FC.

READ: Places are earned not given - Micho

Barring the recent 1-1 draw with Baroka due to desperate efforts to get something out of the tie, the 32-year-old had finished all of the matches in which he started this season.

He is thus on course to emulate his former captain Manyisa and late teammate Senzo Meyiwa, who jointly hold the record for most appearances in a single season with Williams Okpara, after they featured in 51 of Pirates’ 53 matches in the 2013/14 campaign.

Pirates still have 12 Absa Premiership games remaining and, should they advance all the way in the Nedbank Cup and Champions League, could play as many as 56 games by the end of May.

READ: Jele welcomes prospect of all-SA CAF final

However, the lanky centre-back says he is giving little thought to personal milestones and insists he will continue doing duty for the sole purpose of technical team selection.

“I’m not targeting any record, I’m just playing because the technical team select me to play on the day,” said Jele.

“As a player, I want to play each and every game. So, when I get a chance, I have to do my best.”

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Meanwhile, Sredojevic has highlighted Jele's value both within the team and to the club, having served since making his professional debut back in September 2006, likening the former fullback to an ageing wine.

“It is very important to note that Happy is a player that has stayed since 2006 all the way for the last 13 years, giving his service to Orlando Pirates, so he is an extended hand of the coaches on the field of play,” added 'Micho'.

“It is showing that all these years that his off-the-field life coupled with his preparation on the field as well as his performances are things needed to put the stamp as an extended hand of the coaches on the pitch.

“And, fully aware of this, we have him not only as a captain but also a leader, coach and person that keeps the identity of the club present throughout.

“The fact that he really takes care of himself with proper rest, because in recovery proper nutrition and resting and sleeping time brings a player to being long-lasting.

“This is what Happy Quinton Jele could be counted as – as he gets older, so he gets better, the same as wine.”

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