Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda have formed a solid partnership in midfield over the last few seasons, while Oupa Manyisa has done well whenever coach Pitso Mosimane has given him an opportunity.
Jali gives Mosimane the option of playing him as a defensive or offensive midfielder and will bring in tons of experience should he join the club.
KickOff.com spoke to a few former Sundowns players, and a former assistant coach, to ask if they think Jali would play regularly in Mosimane’s starting line-up.
Brent Carelse (former Sundowns midfielder)
"I think he will jump the queue. He will be first choice in terms of defensive midfielder, but the big question is who is he going to play with? Kekana has been doing well, Mabunda has been doing well and Manyisa has been doing well when called upon. So it’s a difficult one. If I was in Jali’s shoes, I would not go to Sundowns. I would go to a club where I would be a first choice. At Sundowns he will have to fight for his place and maybe that’s what he wants. He is a player who thrives on competition."
Roger Feutmba (former Sundowns midfielder)
"There’s no denying Andile Jali is a very good player and he has proved that many times. He has gained a lot of maturity and experience by playing overseas. We know that in midfield there are some good players, with Kekana, Mabunda and even Oupa Manyisa. But for a team like Sundowns that is involved in many competitions and has pressure, they need to make sure they have competition in every position. For me that’s not a problem, there’s always competition at Sundowns. It would be good if he can join Sundowns because he would add value. He has the character, which is good."
Farouk Khan (former Sundowns assistant coach)
"He’s a top class defensive midfielder, but sometimes we only look at him as someone who plays as a pivot. He also has the ability to get forward and score goals. Looking at Kekana’s age, Sundowns could be planning for the future and life without Kekana. They also have Mabunda, but it depends on the way Sundowns are playing on that day. Sometimes they opt to have both pivots and sometimes they only play with the one. I think the coach is looking to increase the quality in midfield and have someone he can depend on for the long term. It won’t be a surprise if they sign him. The journey into Africa will also have its own demands and why not have a player like Jali in your team?"
Where do you think Andile Jali will fit in at Sundowns?