Tshepo Ntsoelengoe
Football Writer
2 minute read
4 Apr 2018
10:35 am

Pirates to keep pressure on Sundowns

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Orlando Pirates will be looking to continue with their fine league form when they host Bloemfontein Celtic at the Orlando Stadium this evening.

Innocent Maela with Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic during training (Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix)

The Buccaneers have enjoyed a good run in the league this season which sees them as title contenders with the Soweto giants trailing leaders Mamelodi Sundowns by just a point.

The Pretoria side are on 43 points with a game in hand, while the Soweto giants are on 42 points after 24 league matches.

READ: Orlando Pirates in goalkeeper crisis

This game comes after a two- week international break, which saw two of the outstanding performers in the Buccaneers team – Innocent Maela and Thembinkosi Lorch – being selected to represent Bafana Bafana at the Four Nations tournament in Zambia.

Maela, who returned this season following a loan spell with Thanda Royal Zulu, has been consistent in the Pirates line-up and says being part of Bafana was an eye opener for him and he wants to continue working hard so that he can help both his club and the country going forward.

“It is crazy how quickly things have been happening. Sometimes I need to pinch myself to remind myself of what is happening.

“Fortunately I have people around me who are helping me to remain grounded. I am still focused on improving on my craft and hopefully I can continue improving so I can make a positive difference to my club and country,” Maela said on the Bucs website.

“The speed at which my career is moving is quite scary when you think of it, but everything has it’s time and whenever you believe in God and stay faithful to Him, then remarkable things happen in a short space of time.”

READ: Celtic explains why players were not paid their signing-on fees

For Celtic, meanwhile, this clash will be crucial for the Free State team to win in order to maintain their position.

Celtic are eighth in the table on 32 points with a mere two points separating them with ninth-placed Chippa United.

The last time Bucs and Celtic met, Micho Sredojevic got the better of his fellow countryman Veselin Jelusic as Pirates won 1-0.