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Who starts between for Bafana vs Morocco: Innocent Maela or Lyle Lakay

Innocent Maela of Orlando Piratesduring the DStv Premiership 2021/22 match between Royal AM and Orlando Pirates held at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban on 27 May 2022 © Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Innocent Maela of Orlando Piratesduring the DStv Premiership 2021/22 match between Royal AM and Orlando Pirates held at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban on 27 May 2022 © Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Jun 6, 2022

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Durban - Bafana Bafana Coach Hugo Broos was dealt a huge blow ahead of a crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualification (Afcon) match against North Africans Morocco, losing first choice left-back Terrence Mashego to injury.

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The Cape Town City man has been in outstanding form for his club and has quickly established himself as coach Broos' most trusted men in the Bafana setup, and his absence presents the technical with an interesting challenge as they pick between two not so similar fullbacks to step-in.

Lyle Lakay and Innocent Maela are permanent figures at their respective clubs, however, the way in which Broos plans to set up against a strong Altas Lions outfit will determine which of the two gets the nod.

IOL Sports' Smiso Msomi looks at the prospects of both Maela and Lakay ahead of the clash against Morocco.

Lyle Lakay

A threat offensively - Lakay recorded figures of six assists and one goal for his club Mamelodi Sundowns this season, which comes as no surprise after producing similar numbers last season as well. Having been a left winger for the majority of his career, his offensive prowess remains his best attribute and if coach Broos wants to give PSG man Ashraf Hakimi something to think about then Lakay makes more sense.

Defensively sound - Lakay has grown to appreciate a clean sheet the same way he would a goal since his arrival at Sundowns and has featured 25 times as part of a league winning team that conceded the least goals the entire campaign.

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Free-kick specialist - the Cape Town born man is by far the best free-kick taker in the Bafana set up at the moment, his six free-kick goals in the last two seasons settle that debate. In a match expected to be difficult for Bafana, the perfect set-piece might just be a key element.

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Innocent Maela

Experience at Bafana level - While Lakay is a year older, Maela has been a part of the Bafana picture for four years now and has remained a consistent figure under the different coaches at the helm.

Strength in size - Maela stands at a height of 1.76 metres, something that has facilitated his versatility and adjustments to all centre backs positions over the years. His height and strength makes him a threat in both boxes for Bafana.

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An attentive defender - it is no secret that Bafana are coming up against some of the best players in the world. Hakimi, Youssef En-Nesyri of Sevilla and Sofyan Amrabat of Fiorentina are some of the players Broos will need to plan for if Bafana are to get a result in Rabat.

The foundation of any solid performances emanates from the backline and Maela's reluctance to bomb-forward at any given moment might just be the kind defensive discipline required for a perfect away performance.

@SmisoMsomi16

IOL Sport

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