Pirates moved six points clear at the top of the table after beating Free State Stars 2-1 on Saturday evening at Orlando Stadium.
“It was a tough match for us considering that we have been playing games non-stop. We knew that they had all the time to prepare for us,” Maela told SuperSport TV.
“You could see they were fresher and moved faster than us but I’m happy we managed to get the three points,” he continued.
“The experience that we got from last season helped us. It’s not just about playing good football all the time. Sometimes it’s about to soldier up, get the three points and keep it moving.
“It’s very important that we stay grounded, humble ourselves. The coaches always tells us that and keep working hard. We’re almost there but we also know that [Mamelodi] Sundowns have games in hand. Now we’re focusing on ourselves and we keep going.”
The left-full back also dedicated the award to his brother Tsepo Masilela who has been without a club since parting ways with Kaizer Chiefs last season.
“I dedicate this award to my brother Tsepo [Masilela]. We miss him so much, the game misses him. Thank you,” he said.