Orlando Pirates legend Edward 'Magents' Motale believes Happy Jele is still an important member of the club and just needs to continue working hard.
Despite being the club's captain the Middelburg-born defender has featured four times in the six games Pirates have played so far in all competitions.
New signing Thulani Hlatshwayo has been wearing the armband in the absence of Jele, who joined the Buccaneers as a 19- year-old back in 2006.
Questions were raised when the 33-year-old was only offered a one-year contract extension at the beginning of the season, with some insinuating that perhaps the player's days at the club were numbered.
But Motale believes that is not the case.
"Yes he is still a valuable member of the squad, he only needs to work hard and compete to reclaim his position," Motale tells KickOff.com.
"Happy has been there for 15 years almost, so I'm not sure why he was given one year because nobody told us anything on how they got to that point of one year. Maybe they didn't agree on the money terms or whatever. But I don't know why they gave him a one-year.
"But I'm happy at least they got a contract. Like I said he's been there for almost 15 years so obviously he is valued much to the team. If he was useless he wouldn't be there for such a long time. So it means there's some value that he is adding to the team."
Check out Motale's classic Dream Team of former teammates
Motale continues: "I would say Jele's behaviour maybe is what has kept him at this club. It means there is something positive that he is bringing into the team. What he needs to do now, he must just double his efforts, that's all.
"I'm not sure if they gave him a one-year because they want to release him, because if they wanted to release him they would have done so even now.
"To other players at Pirates, if they want to be like Happy they must just behave on and off the field, then they will stay long at Pirates. If I was in management I would keep him until as much as his legs can't carry him.
"I won't interfere with the coach's job, as much as the management can't tell him who to play, it's surely up to the coach who is playing on the day."
Motale is also very positive about this season's prospects after six years without a trophy.
"They will win the league this season," he declares. "They will first win the MTN8 then win the league. They are playing good football now."