Innocent Maela: Orlando Pirates Skipper Eyes Return to Bafana Bafana Squad

Innocent Maela: Orlando Pirates Skipper Eyes Return to Bafana Bafana Squad

Robert Abong'o
updated at February 13, 2024 at 2:48 PM
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  • Innocent Maela is aiming to make a return to the Bafana Bafana squad
  • The Orlando Pirates captain missed the 2023 AFCON due to an injury
  • The 31-year-old featured in a friendly against DR Congo last December

Orlando Pirates captain, Innocent Maela, is determined to reclaim his spot in the South Africa national team after being sidelined due to injury.

Maela, who missed the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in the Ivory Coast due to a prolonged injury, was previously a part of Bafana Bafana coach, Hugo Broos' lineup before his setback.

Despite returning to action with the Pirates and featuring in a friendly match against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in December last year, Maela acknowledged the challenge of making a comeback.

Innocent Maela(R) in action against Mali in an international friendly match in 2019. Photo: Michael Sheehan.
Innocent Maela (R) battles for the ball with Mali midfielder, Cheick Oumar Doucoure, during an international friendly match on October 13, 2019. Photo: Michael Sheehan.
Source: Getty Images
"I can still fight to get back into the national team. It’s all about consistency and ensuring I give my best whenever I am on the pitch. The guys did well. They reached the semifinals, and I don’t think anyone expected that,” Maela said, as quoted by The Citizen.

Looking ahead to upcoming fixtures, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers and friendlies against Andorra and Algeria, the Buccaneers’ man expressed his commitment to both club and country. He aims to contribute to the club’s success and secure his return to the Bafana squad.

Maela looking forward to Nedbank Cup

Pirates' Nedbank Cup fixture, set for Saturday, February 24, at the Mbombela Stadium, holds significance as they strive for back-to-back titles.

They reportedly travel to Mpumalanga to face either Middleburg United or Crystal Lake FC once their SAFA dispute is resolved.

Having already secured the MTN8 trophy this season, the team aims to continue their success in knockout competitions.

Maela stressed the importance of internal preparations, focusing on the team’s execution and implementation of their game plan.

"Yes, we do watch our opponents, and we study them. It’s important that we know, and hopefully, we will find out soon so that our analysts and everyone can start preparing accordingly," he said, as reported by Far Post.

Orlando Pirates get easy Nedbank Cup draw

Sports Brief previously reported on defending champions, Pirates 2024 Nedbank Cup draw.

The Premier Soccer League's 16 teams were thrown into a pot along with the 16 qualifiers.

Pirates are the defending champions, having beaten Sekhukhune United in last season's final.

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Robert Abong'o
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