Maela doubtful for MTN8 final
Maela got injured during the Soweto derby against Chiefs.
Orlando Pirates captain Innocent Maela might miss the MTN8 final. Picture: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images
Orlando Pirates are sweating on the fitness of captain Innocent Maela, who is awaiting clearance from the team’s medical team to declare him fit for the final of the MTN8. set to be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
Maela got injured at the Buccaneers’ last game where they lost 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs in the DStv Premiership Soweto derby played at the FNB Stadium last weekend.
The defender was forced to leave the game just before half-time and he was replaced by Paseka Mako at left-back, with Chiefs scoring the solitary goal in the second half through Yusuf Maart.
Speaking at the fan activation held at kit supplier Adidas in Springfield Value Centre in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday morning, the defender confirmed that he is not certain whether he will be part of the match-day squad or not, with only a few hours left to the start of the match.
“The conclusion that we reached along with the doctors and physios was that it was best for me not to partake in the final in order not to aggravate the injury further,” said Maela.
“But I can’t talk much about the injuries because like I said, I am still waiting on the medical team, so we will know in due time.”
With the chances of Maela missing out on playing his first Cup final for Pirates as captain of the club, he says maybe God is testing his selflessness, but in the end, it is all about the team.
“I always tell my teammates and everyone at the club that in order for us to achieve success, we need to be together and be selfless. And now it happens that we play my first final as captain and I’m not able to take part. I don’t know, maybe God is testing me to check how selfless I am,” he added.
“But at the end of the day, when you play such a match it’s not about the individual, but about the team so I will be there to support the guys (if not declared fit).”
The final of the Wafa-Wafa will kick-off at 6pm.