Ex-Orlando Pirates star says Andile Jali still has a lot to offer

A former Orlando Pirates star urges South African fans to give Andile Jali another chance, believing the midfielder still has a lot to offer despite his age.

In spite of a successful career spanning both domestic and international leagues, including impressive stints at AmaTuks, Orlando Pirates, KV Oostende (Belgium), and Mamelodi Sundowns, Jali's time in Pretoria ended on a controversial note. 

He was reportedly suspended alongside Sipho Mbule for allegedly coming to training under the influence of alcohol.

A few months later, he left the Tshwane giants and switched to Moroka Swallows where he had a brief spell and departed due to the club’s internal issues. 

Jali has been a free agent in the second round and is seeking a new challenge ahead of the 2024/25 season.

Benedict Tso Vilakazi encourages South African football fans to overlook the midfielder’s past off-field problems. He implores them to rally behind their own players once they reach the age of 30.

Vilakazi insists that Jali deserves another opportunity, as he is convinced that the player still has much to offer on the football field.

‘RONALDO AND MESSI…HOW OLD ARE THEY?’

“Look, if (Cristiano) Ronaldo is still playing at 39, then why not give him a chance? It's funny for me when we are here in South Africa, when players are 32 or 33, then we say they are old and that they should retire,” said Jali as quoted by Soccer Laduma.

“But when we are at home watching Ronaldo and Messi…how old are they?

So, why can't we give Jali a chance? Players like (Kermit) Erasmus, let's give them a chance.

“We don't support our players when they get to that age. The advice I give is that sometimes it's good to have a player who is 32 or 33 in your squad. You know that he is more focused than a young boy. 

“You need the young boy to learn from the older ones. But if you can't balance youngsters and experienced players, you will always find it difficult. When you watch the Euros now, Toni Kroos is playing, Cristiano is playing. How old are they? So why can't we give Jali a chance?

“Sometimes we should forget about off the field things because if you are going to look at off the field things, then a lot of players who play overseas need to call it a day because they have been caught several times doing the wrong things. But when it comes to the field of play, they produce. So, that's what we need.”

ANDILE JALI NEXT CLUB? IT WILL HAPPEN WITHIN NEXT SEVEN TO 10 DAYS, SAYS AGENT MAKAAB

Meanwhile, Mike Makaab, the representative of Jali, provided a recent update on their quest to find a new club for the midfielder.

He disclosed that they were in the concluding phases of discussions with a club in the DStv Premiership, asserting that it would be finalised within the upcoming seven to ten days.

“I can only say that we are very close to finalizing a new home for him, [but] I will not disclose that [team] now,” Makaab told Gagasi FM.

“[However] But I can assure you that it will happen within the next seven to 10 days. Talks are at an advanced stage between ourselves, AJ, and the football club. He’s remaining in the [Premier Soccer League].

“I’m not even prepared to whisper which province.”

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Nkosiyabuya Sithole

Nkosiyabuya Sithole, a young and rising sports journalist based in Durban, South Africa, harbors a deep passion for football. Nevertheless, he aspires to become a well-rounded journalist, adept in various areas of the field.

Nkosi's career began in 2020, working as a home-based writer during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has since written for various websites, including Briefly News, FiND-iT News, and The South African. Attending live sporting events is a particular pleasure for him, as they provide opportunities for interaction with sports personalities.

Outside of the office, he's a God-fearing and affable young man.