Andile Jali is relieved to have finally put pen-to-paper to sign a five-year contract with Mamelodi Sundowns and end the speculations that surrounded his next destination.
The Brazilians beat strong competition to land the signature of the sought-after Bafana Bafana midfielder. Jali joins an already strong midfield that bulldozed their way past their opponents to land a record eighth league title in the Premier Soccer League era. Sundowns were swift to strengthen that department with the aim of retaining the league next season and once again be crowned African champions by going all the way in the Caf Champions League this year.
“I feel good to have signed for Mamelodi Sundowns,” Jali said. “At last this deal is done. It’s been dragging for a long time. Now I can relax before the season starts. I have recovered from the injury, I am good to go. I passed the medicals. Now I am ready for Sundowns to tell me when to come to training.”
Jali brings a wealth of experienced having travelled the length and breadth of the continent with Bafana Bafana and even reaching the final of the 2013 Caf Champions League at his previous club. The 28-year-old spent four years in Belgium with KV Oostende before returning to the country to link up with coach Pitso Mosimane whom he worked with at Bafana Bafana.
“I didn’t come back to South Africa to relax and just say that I am done because I am coming from Europe,” Jali said. “I came to South Africa to win things, not to just relax and say that I am done. That’s why I came to Sundowns. I am here to show that I have that thing, to push other players to say that guys you can do it. I have learned a lot of things from my time in Belgium, especially how you bounce back from losing a game. You mustn’t lose hope until it’s done and you achieve your objective.”
That attitude will come in handy in the Champions League. The 2016 African champions will once again be the first South African club to return to competitive football with a trip to Togo to take on AS Togo-Port on July 17.