Cape Town - Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana
defender Innocent Maela says he is delighted that the national team have
qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Maela played the full 90 minutes as Bafana beat Libya 2-1 in Sunday's
Group E AFCON qualifier to ensure they advanced to the tournament in
Egypt during June and July.
Percy Tau proved to be the difference in the clash as he scored a
fine brace, whereas, Darren Keet was immense in goal for the Stuart
Nonetheless, Maela also put in a solid shift in Tunisia at the Stade Taieb Mhiri in Sfax.
Speaking to Pirates' official website, he said: "I am so happy right
now. We had a lot of pressure going into this game because of the hopes
of the millions of people on our shoulders.
"This is a football-loving country and for far too long they had
little to be proud of about the national team but with this
qualification I think it could be the start of a renewed hope and belief
in Bafana Bafana.
"Obviously this is only the beginning, the real test will be in Egypt
later this year but for now we can be proud of returning to the
competition after failing to qualify in 2017.
"On a personal level, I am happy to have played the entire match. I
look forward to building on this performance and play more crucial games
for my country."
The draw for the main AFCON tournament is set to take place on Friday, April 12, in Cairo.