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Orlando Pirates appoint Maela to replace Jele as new captain with Ofori to deputise

12:42 EAT 27/07/2022
Innocent Maela, Orlando Pirates, August 2021
After releasing their legendary captain, it was not an obvious decision who will be the Buccaneers' new leader

Innocent Maela and Richard Ofori have been appointed Orlando Pirates captain and vice-captain respectively.

The position fell vacant after the release of long-serving star Happy Jele recently.

With the new campaign on the horizon, the Soweto heavyweights have now announced the new skipper hoping he will steer them upward.

"Long-serving defender Innocent Maela will take up the captaincy role following the departure of Happy Jele, with goalkeeper Richard Ofori taking up the role of vice-captain," read a statement on the club's official website.

"A captain is a leader of men, a player who embodies the core values of the club. He inspires those around him and leads in an exemplary manner – on and off the field. Maela not only personifies these values, but he lives them.

"Throughout his football journey which spans over a ten-year period, the 29-year-old has been consistent; and never allowing a situation [good or bad] to change his approach."

Bucs went on to state why they feel the youngster has gone the full circle and why he was recalled to the team after 2017.

"Maela has come full circle. Starting as a youngster in the Clubs’ Academy ranks in 2012, Inno – as he is affectionately known, went on a five-year-long journey away from the club where he went on to cut his teeth, first at Witbank Spurs and then Thanda Royal Zulu," Pirates added.

"In 2017 – where he was captain, the left back led the KZN outfit to promotion to the Premiership. The following season, Maela was recalled to the club where he has since become a regular feature in the club."

Last season, the defender played eight Premier Soccer League matches for the club.

However, the Soweto heavyweights have faith the 29-year-old can lead the team to greater heights in the 2021/22 campaign.