It is always a great sight to see a soccer player reach milestones for loyalty and dedication, becoming an example to many other players who are playing now and the young ones who are coming up to be proffesional soccer players.
On Saturday, it was a standing ovation for Orlando Pirates captain Happy Jele who was being honored for his 400 league game for Orlando Pirates in the Premier Soccer League Era, making him an icon and confirmation of him being a legend at the Soweto club.
Jele has been with Orlando Pirates for as long as we can remember, joining the club in 2006 and impressingly pushing a one team career which is a very hard thing to do. Jele has not played for any other team proffesionally besides Orlando Pirates, a very great achievement for him.
The 34 years old middelburg born defender is the only player to still be playing from the times where Pirates dominated domestic football under the guidance of Dutch coach Rudolf Krol, a sign of his persistence and dedication to serve the ghost.
Jele himself has come out to open up on how he felt on the day, with emotions being high and saying that he wanted to cry but had to be strong so he could play the game against Swallows, his strength being one of the things that made him last the way he lasted at Pirates.
"It was emotional for me, I wanted to cry but if I cry I won't play very well, so I started to be focused because we had to play the game.It's a special day for me, I'd like to thank Swallows as well the way they responded in terms of the gesture I got and I'm happy. To all supporters as well, thank you for the support you've given me. From the supporters to the family and friend, I'd like to thank them," expressed Jele.
The Captain reflected on how he had to deal with injuries that were career threatening as well as the times he was always being rumoured to be on his way out of the Buccaneers ship, such frustrating scenarios that need a person who is mentaly strong.
Jele managed to score a reputable 11 goals in his 400 games for the Sea Robbers, a sign of taking responsibility with the goals when it matters, that being because defenders are known to score the most crucial goals when they score.
His present was a well earned three points on the day when they defeated Brendon Truter's Swallows side 1-8,courtesy of a Tsegofatso Mabasa goal late in the 2nd half to get their first win of the season.
Jele has enjoyed a great deal of success in his time with Pirates, making him one of those players who have followed in the footsteps of the likes of former Bucs captain Lucky Legwhathi.
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