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Maela believes Bucs edging closer to Downs

Bucs skipper throws down gauntlet ahead of crunch clash

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Khanyisa Mayo of Cape Town City FC and Innocent Maela of Orlando Pirates during the DStv Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Cape Town City FC at Orlando Stadium on August 29, 2023
Khanyisa Mayo of Cape Town City FC and Innocent Maela of Orlando Pirates during the DStv Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Cape Town City FC at Orlando Stadium on August 29, 2023
Image: Gallo Images/Lefty Shivambu

Orlando Pirates skipper Innocent Maela is adamant that the Buccaneers are on the right track to finally go toe-to-toe with Mamelodi Sundowns as far as dominating local football is concerned.

In fact, Maela sees no reason why Pirates cant beat perennial league champions Sundowns when the two giants face-off in a league tie at Orlando Stadium tomorrow night (7.30pm).

Its no secret that they (Sundowns) have had enormous success. Theyve done things right and their process finally is paying off for them. But we know what we have to do in order to surpass that level [that Sundowns have reached],'' Maela said at a media conference at their training base, Rand Stadium, yesterday.

I think we are heading in the right direction... we are heading in that way. We know that we are more than capable of beating anyone in this league.

Maela is certain that Sundowns are also aware that they wont have it easy, especially at Orlando Stadium.

As much as we are saying we are playing against a good team, a decent team, I think they know where they are that they are also playing a very, very strong team, a confident team, Maela insisted.

We are a team that plays with aggression and unity, and we are enjoyable to watch. I am sure where they are, they know its not going to be easy, definitely not esigodini (Orlando Stadium).

But stats make for a grim reading for Pirates against their Pretoria rivals. Sundowns have won all their past five Premiership clashes against Bucs, and conceded just once in those encounters. 

Despite being captain, 31-year-old Maela has somewhat been a fringe player this term, coming off the bench in both league games hes played thus far while he was an unused substitute in the other two DStv Premiership outings.

As much as hed like to feature against the Brazilians, the Bucs defender isnt making a big deal of his lack of game time

Each and every player we have in the squad is looking forward to playing in this match. Each and every player wants to be part of such games but we also accept that only 11 players can start the match, Maela said.

Pirates v Downs: Last five league meetings

February 4, 2023: Pirates 0-1 Sundowns

December 30, 2022: Sundowns 2-0 Pirates

December 17, 2021: Sundowns 4-1 Pirates

September 25, 2021: Pirates 0-2 Sundowns

May 2, 2021: Pirates 0-3 Sundowns

 


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