Absa Premiership

Maela: Matlaba is one of the best left backs in the country

Thabo Matlaba (Gallo Images)
Thabo Matlaba (Gallo Images)

Innocent Maela says it was an honour to play alongside Thabo Matlaba at Orlando Pirates.

Maela joined the Buccaneers from Thanda Royal Zulu in 2017 while Matlaba moved to the Soweto side from Free State Stars in 2012.

After struggling for game time last season, Matlaba made the decision to move on to Black Leopards at the beginning of the currently suspended campaign.

Speaking to Soccer Laduma, Maela refuted the claim that his former teammate left because they were directly competing for a place in the side.

He said: "He was happy for me and for the team. It was an honour for me to be his teammate because he is one of the best left-backs in this country.

"He always told me to stretch myself and always try to do more. I have him on WhatsApp and we do chat consistently.

"He is a very good person and a great player. He is always there to give advice."

Maela added: "He is competing with someone even at his current team. That is football. Thabo would never run away from the competition.

"We had a very good relationship. He is a cool guy and always shared his experience with me. He didn’t take the fact that I was playing in his position, while he was not playing, negatively."

- TEAMtalk media

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