Pirates captain Maela looking to regain Bafana spot
"“Right now I am happy to be back to playing and being healthy," said a Maema.
Orlando Pirates captain Innocent Maela (Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix)
Orlando Pirates captain Innocent Maela says he is looking forward to regaining his place in the Bafana Bafana squad after missing out on the Caf Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in the Ivory Coast.
Maela didn’t make the cut for the Afcon squad after an injury setback, which saw him also miss most of the Pirates’ games last year.
Before the injury, Maela was a key member of Bafana coach Hugo Broos’ squad but had to be replaced following his injury layoff.
The Bucs skipper only played eight games in the first round of the DStv Premiership, but played in Bafana’s friendly match with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in December after returning from injury.
“It was always going to be difficult to be included in the squad for the Afcon because I was out for a very long time,” said the Pirates captain.
“I came back towards the end of the year, but it was not enough because I think the coach had already made up his mind on who he wants in his team.
“But, I know that it’s not over yet, I can still fight to get back into the national team. It’s all about being consistent and ensuring I give my best whenever I am on the pitch. The guys (Bafana) did well. They reached the semifinals of the Afcon and I don’t think anyone expected that.”
With the Fifa World Cup qualifiers coming up, as well as friendly matches against Andorra and Algeria, the Pirates captain says he is going to work hard to make sure that he gets back into the national team and help Pirates to do better than they did in the first round of the season.
“Right now I am happy to be back to playing and being healthy. We didn’t end the year nicely last year. We dropped too many points in the first round and lost two important matches at the end of the year.
“I want to focus on doing well for the team and working my way back into the Bafana squad,” he reiterated.