Happy Jele’s 16-year stay with Orlando Pirates has come to an end after the club decided against renewing his contract.
Jele’s contract expired at the end of June, and according to the club statement, Pirates offered the long serving defender options in non-playing capacity, but Jele expressed his intensions to continue playing football beyond the 2021/2022 season, “an option that unfortunately is not available” at the club.
“Our central defender and Club Captain, who has reached the end of his contract, will be leaving the club. This marks the end of Happy Jele’s momentous career with us,” read the club statement.
“Orlando Pirates Football Club can confirm that Happy Jele met with the Chairman of the Club at the end of the 2021/22 season to discuss his future. During these deliberations, which spanned a three-week period, the Club discussed various job options available to the long-term serving defender in a non-playing capacity.
“Subsequent to this meeting, the 35-year-old was afforded time to go home and think about it.
“Ordinarily, players are released at the end of the players’ contract but in Happy’s case, as he has a special place in the Club, having served the Club so professionally over the past 16 years, the Chairman had specifically asked the player for his input.
“A follow-up meeting was held two weeks later where Happy expressed his intensions to continue playing football beyond the 2021/2022 season, an option that unfortunately is not available.”
Jele joined Pirates from Walter Stars in 2006.
In his 16-year stay with Bucs, Jele won eight trophies, made over 400 appearances and scored 18 goals.