Royal AM coach John Maduka was asked to give an update about January signing Happy Jele but painted a not-so-clear picture of when he will be ready feature for the club.

Jele was signed by Royal AM in the January transfer window after he was without a club for the first half of the season following his Orlando Pirates exit.

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However, he was still carrying a suspension from his time with the Buccaneers in the first two matches since joining Royal AM.

This after the experienced former Pirates captain picked up a red card in the last game of last season for the Soweto giants against SuperSport United.

After Royal AM won their first two games since the return of Maduka, which coincided with Jele arrival, the centre-back would technically be eligible to play in the upcoming match against SuperSport United on Saturday – however, Maduka didn’t give much away when asked whether the 36-year-old would be match fit.

“He’s still training with the team, he wasn’t playing,” said Maduka when asked by iDiski Times after his side’s penalty shootout win against Cape Town City in the Nedbank Cup last-32.

“Sadly at this time of the season it is very difficult to play friendly matches because that is where he can get some match fitness, but he is an experienced player.

“So we hope everything goes according to plan… If we can have him, we must have him.”

Maduka, who wasn’t allowed to be in the dugout for the 2-1 win over Golden Arrows last weekend, returned to the sidelines against Cape Town City, with his side winning the Nedbank Cup last-32 tie at DHL Stadium on Sunday 4-3 on penalties.

But in all honesty, Royal AM were lucky to come alive, as City created a plethora of chances, but failed to put them away.

When it came to the spot kicks, Cameroon goalkeeper Hugo Nyame was the star of the show, saving two penalties for the KwaZulu-Natal club to get them over the line.

Maduka wants his side to go all the way in the competition, having been stopped by Mamelodi Sundowns in the semi-final last season, with the Tshwane giants going on to win this cup.

“We want to go all the way, but for us to go all the way, we have to take one game at the time,” said Maduka, who lost this cup before with Bloemfontein Celtic to Sundowns in the 2019/20 season.

“We don’t know who we will be playing against in the last 16, but we will take one game at the time.

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“But it is a competition we would love to go all the way. We tried last season, but we lost it in the semi final. So this time we would love to go all the way.”

The Nedbank Cup last 16 draw will take place on Wednesday (18:00). This will be after the last fixture between Polokwane City and Chippa United at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium (19:30) will be played on Tuesday.

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