Bucs Defender Delighted With Bafana Debut
Orlando Pirates Defender Happy To Play For Bafana Bafana
An Orlando Pirates defender, who made his debut for the South African senior national team over the weekend, is happy with the progress he is making in his career.
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Innocent Maela was in coach Stuart Baxter’s line-up as Bafana Bafana beat Zambia 2-0 in their Four Nation tournament match at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Saturday.
The defender told Pirates’ official website about the match.
“You always remember the first time. I remember the first boots I ever got, the first professional game I ever played, even the first shibobo,” said Maela.
“All players dream of representing the country of their birth and I am no different, I aim to continue improving at club level so that I can get more opportunities to represent my country.
“Making my debut for Bafana Bafana was honour and a privilege. I never thought it would happen so soon. It felt remarkable to don the national colours, a dream come true,” he said.
“It has always been a dream of mine to represent the country. Ever since I was a small boy, I pictured myself playing for Bafana Bafana. When you play international football you face the best players that a country has to offer and you see a different level of 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 Bafana Bafana 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 teammates and fight for your nation. It gives you a lot of humility and sees things from a bigger perspective. It’s bigger than the team.
“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 focussed on improving 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 its 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,” concluded the defender.