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Humble Mofokeng is not a star yet – Maela

Pirates captain says youngster must focus on his game, forget the hype

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Relebohile Mofokeng of Orlando Pirates during the MTN8 final match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi in October 2023
Relebohile Mofokeng of Orlando Pirates during the MTN8 final match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi in October 2023
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

Orlando Pirates skipper Innocent Maela has spoken extensively about the hype around his teenage sensation teammate Relebohile Mofokeng, insisting the humble wunderkind is not yet the star people are making him out to be.

The 19-year-old Mofokeng, who was recently assessed by English Premiership side Wolverhampton Wanderers, has been showing glimpses of brilliance in recent months. In the eyes of many Pirates supporters, the lad from Sharpeville has already arrived.

Some have even compared the gifted Mofokeng to the clubs greats such as Teko Modise and the late Gift Leremi. However, Maela believes Mofokeng still has a long way to go to be called a star, admiring his humility and the fact that hes coachable.

First and foremost Mofokeng is a very humble boy... hes very grounded. When you talk to him, he listens and he listens to understand. So, I think that quality will take him very far. In terms of him being a star, well... hes far from that, Ill be honest with you, Maela said during Bucs activations at Maponya Mall in Soweto last Friday.

Theres still a lot of work that he needs to put in. He still has to improve on a lot of things and he acknowledges that. Yes, the fans love him but he needs to stay close to reality and focus on his game... and just block all the outside noise.

Maela added that as senior players they always preach to Mofokeng that he must remain humble and focus on his job rather than paying too much attention to the hype around him.

We tell him all the time that he must continue to stay grounded and work harder. He just got started now and he mustnt think he has arrived, the Pirates skipper noted.

Maela, who didnt want to reveal what kind of an injury hes been nursing since September, wants Bucs to be more consistent in the league in order to be among the title challengers in future. Bucs are already nine points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who have two games in hand.

If we can fix the matter of being inconsistent, then we will definitely get more wins and it will take us closer to challenging for the league and eventually winning the league, Maela said.

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