Innocent Maela will be a key figure for Orlando Pirates in the Caf Champions League. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

DURBAN – Orlando Pirates left back Innocent Maela is confident that they will soon end their trophy drought.

Pirates are going through a trophy barren, having not lifted a cup since 2014. In 2014, Pirates won the Nedbank Cup at the expense of Bidvest Wits at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

They came close in 2015 as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Kaizer Chiefs at Moses Mabhida in the final of the MTN8.

Last season, Pirates finished second on the log behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

Maela is still searching for his maiden winner’s medal in top-flight football, and is confident that they will soon claim some silverware. 

“It is important for us to go out there and try and win trophies as a big team. As a player I haven’t really won anything.

“I’m working hard with my teammates to make sure that we make our supporters happy and make them proud by winning a trophy, bearing in mind that a lot of us haven’t won anything,” he explained.

Maela has been pivotal for Pirates at left back since returning from his loan spell at Thanda Royal Zulu.

Pirates haven’t won the league since 2011/12, but Maela is adamant that they have what it takes to lift the league trophy come the end of the season.  

“If I look at the team that we have, I believe that we stand a good chance of winning silverware soon,” he added. “Winning the league will make me happy. Yes, I believe it is possible. It is more than possible.”

Maela is also expected to play a big role when the Buccaneers commence their African adventure in the Caf Champions League at the end of November.

“The experience of being in the national set-up will come in handy when we are going to Africa. It will be good for us as players to be exposed to those kinds of games. It will help us as players to grow,” Maela said. 

The explosive left back will now shift focus in to the national team. He is the part of the Bafana team that will face Seychelles in back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, starting on Saturday at the FNB Stadium.

“It has been tough for us as the national team. We know what we are doing. We believe in the coach. We believe in the team. We just have to keeping work hard,” he said.

“There’s no pressure on us as players. When you’re representing your country, there’s always big expectations. We want to win both games.”



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