Bafana Bafana

Maela: Bafana cap a moment I will cherish for a long time

2018-03-27 07:18
Innocent Maela (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Orlando Pirates defender Innocent Maela says he is over the moon to have earned his first national team cap during the 2-0 win over Zambia in the Four Nations tournament on Saturday.

Maela described the experience as a "massively proud moment" that he will cherish for the rest of his career.

The defender who has impressed since joining the Soweto giants, was among the new faces called by national team coach, Stuart Baxter, for the tournament that also involved Angola and Zimbabwe.

Maela told the Pirates website: "It has always been a dream of mine to represent my country. Ever since I was a small boy, I pictured myself playing for Bafana. When you play international football you face the best players that a country has to offer and you see a different level to your game.

"The experience of being in the national team is priceless. I am grateful to the technical team for having the confidence in me and for giving me an opportunity to play.

"Without them I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to represent my country. I also want to thank the coach Mr Baxter for having given me this opportunity. 

"It's a life-changing experience playing for Bafana, it comes with a lot of responsibility and there’s no room for mistakes. You stand side-by-side with your team-mates and fight for your nation.

"It gives you a lot of humility and see things from a bigger perspective. It’s bigger than the team." 

The 25-year old admitted that he did not expect to represent his country so soon after joining Pirates from then NFD side, Thanda Royal Zulu.

He added: "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 that I can make a positive difference to my club and country. 

"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. I'm truly humbled by how God continues to exceed my expectations."

Read more on:    orlando pirates  |  bafana bafana  |  soccer
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