Andile Jali is in the last six months of his contract at Mamelodi Sundowns, having joined the Tshwane giants in July 2018.
While the Brazilians are yet to table a new offer for the central midfielder, as confirmed by his agent Mike Makaab, AJ15 has seen less and less game time.
He has appeared only eleven times for Sundowns this season, mostly as a substitute, while spending most of his time on the bench or the stands.
As things stand, the best option for Jali would be to leave Mamelodi Sundowns when his contract expires, and here are the reasons why:
– Since Rulani Mokwena took the head coaching reigns, Mamelodi Sundowns have made some changes in their tactical approach.
While Jali was instrumental for Downs in their build-up play, by initiating their build-ups from inside his box, Sundowns have since changed their strategy, with Ronwen Williams taking over that role, which was largely a responsibility of a central defensive midfielder.
– Rulani Mokwena seems to prefer a more mobile footballer in the number six role, a Regista in modern football terms, someone player who can cover more distances on the pitch.
That role requires a player with high energy levels and a good engine, something that AJ15, unfortunately, doesn’t have, while the much younger and hardworking Teboho Mokoena has performed it with distinction so far.
– Sipho Mbule is gaining his confidence back and seems to have found a new lease on life under Rulani Mokwena.
Even though has only managed cameo appearances at the moment, Rulani Mokwena has made his intentions of playing him in the number six role known.
“Sipho Mbule, in my opinion, is a six (DM) and an eight (CM) at the most. But in how we want to construct things and the schemes, Sipho Mbule has this la pause [Spanish for ‘the pause’] and then the press resistance to be able to press with a 10 (CAM),” Mokwena told the media recently.
That alone may push Jali further down the pecking order for that central midfield role.
Add Bongani Zungu and Rivaldo Coetzee in the mix, and suddenly things don’t look good at all for AJ.
– At 32 years old, age is not on Jali’s side if he still has ambitions of playing regularly and maybe convincing Hugo Broos to consider him for the national team.
For him to find a team where he can play regular football, leaving Mamelodi Sundowns now, at the age of 32 would be a better option before he finds himself in Hlompho Kekana’s shoes. At the moment, there are a lot of teams in the league who would jump at the opportunity to sign him.
Without mentioning names, we are all aware of teams in the league who can use the services of an experienced defensive midfielder like Andile, who comes not only with years of experience, but leadership qualities and a good football brain.