Bucs' new jersey set to inspire
JOHANNESBURG – Trophy-less for the last five seasons, Orlando Pirates’ captain Happy Jele is banking on the club’s new jersey to serve as motivation as they hope to redeem the glory days at the club.
Yesterday, the Sea Robbers unveiled their new jersey for the 2019/20 season, while the home jersey carried a lot of weight in the club’s rich history.
White and with vertical black stripes, Pirates’ new home jersey is designed identical to that of the winning class of 1995. That year, 24 years ago, the Buccaneers conquered the African safari, winning the coveted CAF Champions League as they added a star over the club’s badge.
However, they’ve since had their shortcomings in the Pan-African competition as the closest they could get to repeating that success was finishing in the semi-finals in 2006.
“It’s very nice and the fabric is quality,” Jele said. “It’s very light and comfortable when you are wearing it. I believe that when we wear it during the next season, it’s going to bring back the glory days of the club.”
Starting on a clean slate after enduring the runners-up spot in the Premiership log standings for the past two seasons, Jele is banking on the new gear to be a motivation that will inspire them to pole position at the end of the upcoming season.
“I think the time for excuses is finished and now we have to bring something to the team,” said Jele. “The league is the first priority to the team and we also want other domestic trophies. For next season, each and every player has made a vow that they want to win something for the team.”
The 32-year-old defender is the longest serving player in the current crop of players. However, his achievements with the club includes being an integral part of the Sea Robbers team that steered their ship to double treble in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons.
However, as the skipper of the current crop of players, Jele’s compatriots have failed to grabbed the chance of donning the famous black and white jersey of the club by the scruff of the neck. In the last two seasons, Mamelodi Sundowns have dominated the Premiership, while Pirates could only go as far as runners-up.
Add to the fact that their CAF Champions League’s campaign was underwhelming as they couldn’t go beyond the group stage round robin, while they also fell to the sword of minnows Baroka FC in the final of the Nedbank Cup.
“For me, when they say I look like some past player (that has done well), for me that’s a motivation. It means there’s something good that I am doing. But I just want to bring back the glory days to Orlando Pirates and (possibly) win another treble like I did with the likes of (retired footballers) Lucky Lekgwathi and Siyabonga Sangweni. We want the youngsters to feel the feelings that we felt,” Jele added.
Meanwhile, The Ghost will get to see their team’s new jersey in action on Saturday when the Sea Robbers clash with arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the eighth edition of Carling Black Label at FNB Stadium (kick-off at 3pm).@Mihlalibaleka