Orlando Pirates legendary defender Happy Jele on how he nearly signed for Kaizer Chiefs. Image Source: (@OrlandoPirates/Twitter)

Orlando Pirates legendary defender Happy Jele on how he nearly signed for Kaizer Chiefs. Image Source: (@OrlandoPirates/Twitter)

Pirates legendary defender nearly signed for Chiefs

Celebrated Orlando Pirates legendary defender reveals how he nearly signed for Kaizer Chiefs junior side.

Orlando Pirates legendary defender Happy Jele on how he nearly signed for Kaizer Chiefs. Image Source: (@OrlandoPirates/Twitter)

Orlando Pirates legendary defender Happy Jele on how he nearly signed for Kaizer Chiefs. Image Source: (@OrlandoPirates/Twitter)

Legendary Orlando Pirates defender Happy Jele reveals how he nearly signed for fierce Soweto rivals, Kaizer Chiefs.

Speaking to TimesLIVE, Jele said he was close to joining Chiefs back in his early professional days but Pirates managed to lure him to Mayfair.

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Having spent more than 16 years with Pirates after making his debut back in 2006, Jele said he trained with Chiefs as a junior while he was in the books of Walter Stars in Mpumalanga but a deal was never concluded. 

PIRATES LEGENDARY DEFENDER ON HOW HE NEARLY SIGNED FOR CHIEFS

Known as Magents in football, Jele left Pirates in 2022 and later joined Royal AM but he remains clubless and he is yet to retire.

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“I almost signed with Kaizer Chiefs. We changed on the last day and the manager of the club, Bobby Motaung, knows that,” Jele said. 

Orlando Pirates legendary defender Happy Jele on how he nearly signed for Kaizer Chiefs. Image Source: (@OrlandoPirates/Twitter)
Orlando Pirates legendary defender Happy Jele on how he nearly signed for Kaizer Chiefs. Image Source: (@OrlandoPirates/Twitter)

“Every time I meet him [Motaung], he always reminds me I was supposed to have signed with them. I always tell him he was too slow, but it is part of life and I think God led me to Orlando Pirates. That’s why I stayed there for such a long time.” 

It is reported that the former Buccaneers skipper made his way to the Naturena-based Chiefs after he was selected following development trials. 

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PIRATES LEGEND ON HOW HE ARRIVED AT CHIEFS

The decorated centre-back, Jele added that he trained at Chiefs development ranks while the senior side was mentored by ex-coach Ernst Middendorp.

“When I arrived at Chiefs I think the coach was Ernst Middendorp, if I am not mistaken. Things went well but Walter Mokoena [Jele’s manager then] felt it was not the right move for me,” he added.

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“He [Mokoena] organised a game for us [Walter Stars] against Orlando Pirates, who were passing Mpumalanga on their way to play a Caf game in Eswatini. We played against Pirates and on that I pushed because I wanted to play in the PSL and they wanted to sign.” 

When he left Pirates, the club said Jele made his mark at the club and earned legendary status compared to that of Paolo Maldini of AC Milan and Sergio Ramos who played for Real Madrid.

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