Pirates’ Riveiro out to cement ‘cup specialist’ tag

ORLANDO Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro’s bag of tricks will be on display against Chippa United in the Nedbank Cup semi-final today. | BackpagePix

ORLANDO Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro’s bag of tricks will be on display against Chippa United in the Nedbank Cup semi-final today. | BackpagePix

Published May 4, 2024


JOSE Riveiro has mastered the art of winning trophies in South African football and that’s why he knows they’ll underestimate Chippa United at their own peril.

Orlando Pirates have won three trophies in the past two seasons – two MTN8s and one Nedbank Cup – with their only blemish the inaugural Carling Knockout Cup.

They are now two games from defending the Nedbank Cup, as they must beat Chippa in the semis today (3pm) in Gqeberha, and fellow finalists in Mbombela on June 1.

Pirates will be favourites at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium due to their cup pedigree and scintillating form, which has seen them win the past five games in a row.

Coach Riveiro’s men have been on a high such that they’ve scored a whopping 18 goals and conceded just three during their purple patch.

That’s been a huge turnaround for a team that was struggling to turn their top performances into victories, let alone goals.

But speaking ahead of the Chippa clash at the base Rand Stadium this week, the revered cup specialist knows that there’s no easy match in knock-out games.

“We were on the other side not so long ago. We know how difficult it is to win games in these cups – not even the league. The cup is more difficult,” Riveiro said.

“So because of that there’s not going to be room for complacency. We accept every role that we are going to get because we are representing Pirates.

“It’s normal, but we know how difficult the game is going to be. The players know very well how difficult the game is going to be.”

Riveiro has special respect for the Nedbank Cup and Chilli Boys. The latter have been on a high, winning four games and losing one in all competitions in the last five.

And it is for that reason the 48-year-old Spaniard wants his teams to be close to their best and try to reach the promised land: the final.

“Due to the respect that we have for the competition and Chippa, we want to perform to our best, and that’s what we want,” Riveiro explained.

“We want our best version [today] because we know that if we do it, the possibility of getting the result that we are looking for is close.

“We have full respect for Chippa. They are doing fantastic this year and we know it’s going to be a complex game from every aspect, physical and tactical.”

Indeed, the match will be complex for Pirates. They’ve had to play matches after every three games, juggling between the DStv Premiership and Nedbank Cup.

But Riveiro knows that comes with the job. And that’s why they are not sulking or moaning around, but instead focusing on what they can control.

“We don’t think about how difficult it is. It is what it is. Like I said many times, the schedule is something that’s not in our control,” Riveiro said.

“What is in our control is to use all our resources to make sure that the players are ready to compete every two or three days and that’s what we do.

“The club is helping us to have good camps, good trips, good nutrition and to rest as well as possible to make sure that the players can compete.”