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Nedbank Cup triumph to boost Pirates in market: Maela

todayJune 3, 2024 22

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Innocent Maela of Orlando Pirates celebrates during the 2023/24 Nedbank Cup Final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit on 1 June 2024 ©Phakamisa Lensman/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates captain, Innocent Maela, believes that the Buccaneers’ recent cup success will be crucial in bringing top players to the team for the upcoming season.

Pirates achieved their most recent cup crown on Saturday when they beat Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 in the Nedbank Cup final at the Mbombela Stadium, in Mpumalanga.

“It [winning the last cup of the season] gives you the confidence as a club when going into negotiations, when you want to sign players to improve the squad. Who doesn’t want to be here? Who doesn’t want to represent this brand? And also, us as players who are here, we’ll be motivated to start the new season on a high note after this Nedbank Cup success,” Maela said at the media mixed zone after the match.

Orlando Pirates lifts trophy during the 2023/24 Nedbank Cup Final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit on 1 June 2024 ©Phakamisa Lensman/BackpagePix

Maela has now won four trophies since he took over the captaincy from Happy Jele two seasons ago.

He has been at Pirates since he was a youngster coming up in the academy.

“I always say that I do this for all the players I was playing with at the academy that didn’t get the opportunity to progress in their careers…I am sure they are so proud of me, this is for them,” he told journalists.

The skipper has also spoke glowingly about his coach, Jose Riveiro, who has guided the side to two back-to-back cup doubles since arriving in the country.

“He always tells us that you don’t prepare for the cup final a week leading up to it, you prepare for such moments each and every day and I think he has installed that mentality within the team, within the group and I’m not surprised that the boys are performing like this when it matters the most,” the Orlando Pirates left back/central defender added.

Maela who also hails from Mpumalanga said it was an amazing feeling to lift the Nedbank Cup trophy in his hometown.

“It feels special to win this cup in my province…I was born and bred in this province.”

 

Written by: Ntsako Mukhari

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