Goal takes a look at which of the Big Three should the former University of Pretoria midfielder join as he seeks a return to the Premier Soccer League
Jali’s future remains the subject of speculation as to where he will play his club football next season with South African top three teams in Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns reportedly chasing his signature.
Although his representatives led by former Pirates coach Mike Makaab of ProSport International said all the big guns in the South African Premier Soccer League have engaged him regarding the player’s availability, but none made a concrete offer as yet.
Makaab was also recently quoted as saying his suitors will have to fork out a staggering amount to meet the player’s demands.
Goal takes a look at which of the Big Three should the former University of Pretoria midfielder join as he seeks to return to the PSL next season.
Before his departure to Belgium in 2014, the hard tackling, robust yet creative midfielder was a star at Pirates’ engine room.
He went on to represent Oostende in over 100 games in the Belgian First Division, now let’s explore his possible destination and why he must decide on his future.
CHANCES OF REJOINING PIRATES
Jali left the club as a key player for the Ghost as he contributed in their two successive PSL titles in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 campaigns as well as winning the Nedbank Cup, MTN8 Cup and the Telkom Knockout Cup trophies.
He was a man credited for their brave display in the Caf Champions League in 2013 as they went on to reach the final to finish as runners-up to eventual champions Al Ahly.
During his five-year stay at Mayfair, he formed a solid partnership with Oupa Manyisa, who has since joined Sundowns. Going back to the Buccaneers could still be a smart move for the midfielder, but there have been major changes at the club since his departure.
Bucs have signed the likes of Musa Nyatama, Xola Mlambo, Thamsanqa Sangweni and others to boss the midfield, and Jali might find it difficult to just walk into the starting line-up.
Under coach Milutin Sredojevic, Pirates are a different side and Nyatama’s consistent displays with the likes of Mlambo and Mpho Makola will not make it easy for the coach to just change what seems to work for him.
On the other hand, the fact that Manyisa is no longer there could make it a bit difficult for Jali to return to Pirates because a player is mostly attracted by what or who is already there and how he will contribute when it comes to partnerships and combinations.
Although Jali would like to win the league or join a league title chasing side, he will possibly wait to see if Pirates win it or will return to continental football because statistics show that he has won everything at Pirates, but the Caf Champions League or Confederation Cup.
Based on these elements, it looks unlikely that he may join the Soweto giants although that could happen because of his close ties with the Ghost and chairman Irvin Khoza.
Moreover, with Pirates having a soft spot for the player and the fact that he has called the club his home in recent times, the money issue should not be a snag or a hindrance for the move to happen.
CHANCES OF JOINING SUNDOWNS
The Brazilians are the only club to have showed interest in his services based on media reports, and Pitso Mosimane has always been an admirer of the anchorman.
Contrastingly, it should not be difficult for Jali cross the Jukskei River and find a new football home with the 2016 African champions.
The fact that Mosimane is challenging for the league and on the verge of winning their eighth PSL title, the Nedbank Cup and on course for their second star in African football is a big carrot to dangle in front of Jali.
Pirates can argue that they are fighting to return to continental football for next season, but Sundowns are already in the group stages and are through to play next season, it will only be amatter of registering him and he can play right away.
Mosimane has the chance to get his man because if Makaab’s financial package sentiments are anything to go by, Sundowns should have no difficulties in luring the Bafana Bafana international to Chloorkop.
With the backing of president Patrice Motsepe and the fact that Sundowns pay their players well, maintains good lifestyle for the players could tempt Jali.
Coming to the playing personnel, Mosimane fought hard to capture Manyisa’s services and he is loved in Tshwane by the fans and everyone associated with the club.
Based on Mosimane’s ability to plan ahead, Hlompho Kekana is aging and with the load at Sundowns, he wants someone with fresher legs, and Jali’s hunger to take the baton and run with it makes him the perfect replacement.
That person to fill the void is none other Jali and reuniting with ‘Ace’ could attract him as well as the fact that his Bafana teammates such as Themba Zwane, Percy Tau, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Tiyani Mabunda are all there – could help make his decision easy.
CHANCES OF JOINING KAIZER CHIEFS
Amakhosi have also joined the race for the services of the former AmaTuks player, but chances of luring Jali to Naturena are slim.
Apart from strong sentiments shared between Pirates and Jali, Amakhosi are known to drag their feet when it comes to big-name players.
In the past few seasons, when Vilakazi was ready to leave the Clever Boys reports emanated that he would like to join the Glamour Boys, yet the Soweto giants dragged their feet.
Retired Bafana midfielder Steven Pienaar made it clear that he would like to play in the Soweto Derby before hanging up his boots, yet he ended up at Wits.
The point is that Chiefs may be interested but not make an offer for Jali and he is a player who’s young and capable of reviving their aging midfield manned by the likes of Willard Katsande and Siphiwe Tshabalala.
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In many instances, players are attracted by what the club has in terms of quality and that is the case even in Europe, but at Chiefs – will Jali be attracted by the talent?
On the other hand, there is speculation regarding coach Steve Komphela as his contract is coming to an end this season, a player would like to join a club where he has established relations with a coach so that he can be guaranteed game time.
For example, at Pirates the likes of Screamer Tshabalala or Micho could be given permission to talk to the player, Mosimane could arrange a meeting to talk to him over a cup of coffee, but can the same be said about the Naturena-based side?