'Happy Jele is a Pirates legend'


Former Orlando Pirates coach Augusto Palacios has asserted that club stalwart Happy Jele deserves to be regarded as a legend by supporters.

"Yes, he is a Pirates legend because of the long service he has given the club and the number of games played," Palacios tells Kickoff.com.

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The experienced coach also revealed some anecdotes on Jele's start at the Buccaneers.

Born in Mhluzi, Middelburg in Mpumalanga, 'Magents' as Jele is known, signed for Pirates from amateur side Walter Stars.

The long-standing Pirates captain was also recently honoured by the club after reaching 400 appearances.

"When Happy Jele arrived at Pirates, brought by this guy Walter Mokoena, the TV presenter, the chairman, Irvine Khoza sent him to Sarasota in the United States for special training," Palacios tells Kickoff.com.

"It was Happy Jele, Joseph Makhanya, Gift Leremi and Jabu Pule who went with me to Sarasota, for physical and life skills training.

"Jele had not yet played a game for the first team and after he came back, made his debut. I was the first person tasked with introducing Happy into the first-team.

"I was training, advising, guiding him, you know. I'm very proud firstly, for the chairman for giving him the opportunity as no one knew him. Then, also Pirates paid a lot of money for him as he was a long-term investment.

"His life skills and football was my responsibility. The chairman believed he had made a good investment in him. He is the same as Lucky Lekgwathi, who was loyal to the club and played for many years.

"Jele is the type of player who will fight and die for the club. That is the example that all the players must emulate. I'm very proud of him because in a discipline aspect he always arrived early for training. He is an excellent leader."

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