Once a Pirate always a Pirate?

Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Andile Jali.
Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Andile Jali.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Pointers are that ex-Orlando Pirates midfielder Andile Jali is going to keep his word and end up playing for his former club Bucs as early as the middle of next season.

Sunday World has been reliably informed that the Bafana Bafana strongman favours a move back to the Buccaneers.

Jali, 27, is in the last three months of his contract with Belgian side KV Oostende for whom he has played over 100 games since joining them from Pirates four years ago.

When he left Pirates for Oostende in 2014, the Eastern Cape-born footballer made a promise to the Bucs supporters that if he ever came back to play in the PSL, he would do so at Pirates.

Jali has been playing his cards to close to his chest, but a source reveals that Pirates would probably win the race ahead of Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs.

"Jali loves Pirates and even if you check his hints [about his future] on social media, it all points to Pirates. What I know is that Sundowns are definitely interested in signing him, but Pirates is home for him," revealed a source.

Another source said Jali could have returned to Pirates before the start of the season.

"There was a possibility of him coming home in June last year, but it didn't work out, so he stayed in Belgium," the source said.

Jali has stated that he's coming home to be closer to his Joburg-based wife and kids.

"I'm coming back. I've made up my mind with my family, my wife. I made up my mind that now it is time to come back to stay with my family," he said during a recent TV interview.

The player's agent, Mike Makaab, confirmed to this paper that Jali has options.

Makaab said they are still considering offers from Belgium, France and the Middle East, but Jali feels he's ready to come home. It's on that basis that a local move looks to be a viable option.

Our sources insisted that in Jali's case, it's "once a Pirate, always a Pirate".

But such is the unpredictable nature of football that anything is possible.

You will recall that when Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi returned from from a short stint in Denmark in 2008 he was expected to rejoin Pirates.

Needless to say, Vilakazi ended up at Sundowns.

During a television football show two weeks ago, Jali was spotted wearing a designer T-shirt with the logo of the skull and bones, resembling the logo of the Buccaneers.

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