Hlatshwayo can challenge Jele for Orlando Pirates' captaincy - Lekoelea


Orlando Pirates legend Steve Lekoelea strongly believes Thulani Hlatshwayo can challenge Happy Jele for the captain's armband at the club. 

Hlatshwayo is leaving Bidvest Wits ahead of next season following the management's decision to sell its PSL status to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzvhandila owner Masala Mulaudzi. 

And the 30-year-old utility defender has been linked with both the Sea Robbers and Mamelodi Sundowns with the former reportedly in pole position to land his signature. 

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"Tyson can challenge Jele for the captain's armband at Pirates [if he decides to join Bucs]," Lekoelea told Isolezwe.  

While Lekoelea admits Jele has done a tremendous job since taking over the captain's armband from Oupa Manyisa and later Thabo Matlaba, he feels Hlatshwayo's arrival would really help the team grow and further help solve their defensive woes. 

"Let me make it clear that has done a wonderful job all these years. I like both of them (Jele and Hlatshwayo) but the arrival of Hlatshwayo could signal the growth of the team and the problem of a leaky defence would be solid," he said.   

"Pirates are playing beautiful football of late. The only problem is when they have to defend because they are giving away cheap goals." 

What Lekoelea likes about Hlatshwayo is his ability to read the game, his strength and the fact that he's a no-nonsense defender, and this would rub off the Pirates team.   

"In Hlatshwayo, they would get someone who knows how to read the game very well, who's strong and doesn't take nonsense. Even his teammates will learn a lot from him," continued the former Maritzburg United and Moroka Swallows winger. 

Lekoelea has an advice for the Soweto-born defender - to always be on top of his game or be prepared to face the wrath of the Pirates fans. 

"My advice to him is that he shouldn't forget that Pirates are a big team. He must always bring his A-game otherwise he would always be criticised."

The South Africa international has been with the Students for six years and he remains one of their most influential players with 171 matches under his belt. 

Despite being a defender, Hlatshwayo has directly been involved in 27 goals - 20 goals and seven assists since his arrival from Ajax Cape Town in 2014.

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