By Michael Madyira
Innocent Maela’s Orlando Pirates captaincy has started on a slow note when it comes to the Soweto Derby.
The Bafana Bafana defender was appointed the Buccaneers skipper before the start of the season and has led his side to two derby defeats so far.
Now, Pirates will visit old foes Kaizer Chiefs for Saturday’s Nedbank Cup semi-finals at FNB Stadium.
Maela would be keen for the Sea Robbers to register their first official victory over Chiefs under his leadership and there is also pressure on him to help Pirates end a five-match losing streak in the derby.
“As players, we don’t go into matches thinking about past results,” Maela told the media.
“I think for us, it’s important that we focus on the game at hand, that we focus on the plan that the coaches will present to us and make sure we show that we want it more than them and complete to the best of our abilities.”
In his first Soweto Derby as Pirates captain on 29 October 2022, Maela witnessed Yusuf Maart’s ridiculous goal condemn Pirates to a slim defeat.
It was then a horror show for the Bafana star in the second derby in February when he saw red on the hour mark and the Buccaneers could not cope with a man down before Olisa Ndah’s late own goal sunk their ship.
“We don’t spend our time stressing about what happened in the past,” Maela insists.
“We know that we have an opportunity come Saturday and we have to be present and compete as best as we can.”
Going into the derby, the Witbank-born utility defender is coming from an injury that saw him miss Pirates’ last two games.
While Maela is trying to avoid another derby dent on his captaincy, Arthur Zwane would be out to maintain a clean record in this traditional fixture as Chiefs coach.
Pictured above: Innocent Maela
Image source: Innocent Maela-Twitter