Mamelodi Sundowns star Maema opens up about constant Bafana Bafana snub by Broos

Neo Maema, Mamelodi SundownsBackpagePix
  • Maema excluded from Bafana squad
  • Sundowns player is not too bitter
  • Maema still hopes to represent Mzansi

WHAT HAPPENED: Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos named his 34-man preliminary squad to take on Morocco in the dead rubber of the Africa Cup of Nations next month. Broos will have to trim his squad to a final 23 before he welcomes the Moroccans at the FNB Stadium.

In his team, the Bafana mentor left out Mamelodi Sundowns' Neo Maema, who has been part of the fabric of the Premier Soccer League champions. But the player seems to be not taking it to heart that he has been excluded by Broos.

WHAT WAS SAID: To be honest, I don't feel like the coach did something wrong (by not picking me). I will just support whoever he calls up for the national team," Maema told members of the media.

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"I think I should do a little bit more and actually try to seek deeper into myself because some things are very spiritual. I am a very spiritual person and all the players who got call-ups deserve them and as a South African citizen and a footballer who loves football and this country so much, I have to support them. One of them could be an answered prayer and who am I fighting? Am I fighting God or men? I cannot fight God," he added.

AND WHAT ELSE: "Firstly, I did a lot of introspection on how I play and I noticed that maybe it is not how the national team plays. But it is more about keeping my feet down and realizing that I can be more consistent in my performances for Sundowns and make sure that as much as I continue to work hard, I need to keep the standard high. I would love to one day represent our country but I will wait for my time because God's time is always right."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: When Maema joined Sundowns, a lot was said about him potentially committing career suicide, and that almost proved to be the case in his first season as he was hardly involved. This season, he has been a regular feature for Masandawana and credits his coach, Rhulani Mokwena, for investing so much trust in him.

"The coach helps us a lot, he pushes us a lot because of the things that he wants for us, and he knows that we also want it for ourselves. We want to be nominated for the awards for the hard work that we put in, we all want to win the league. We all want to better our performances and try to do a little bit more and that is why I put myself under pressure to do more," Maema said.

WHAT'S NEXT: Sundowns are heading for a break before they reconvene for pre-season preparations where they are believed to be planning a tour outside of the country.

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