Orlando Pirates could easily be dejected by their poor run of form, but coach Jose Riveiro says it could prove to be a blessing in disguise instead.
Tipped to challenge for all five trophies up for grabs this season following their heroic displays in the last campaign, the Buccaneers have been a shadow of themselves recently. They have lost three successive matches (all 1-0) across the Caf Champions League, Premiership and MTN8.
But it’s in the Champions League where Pirates are skating on thin ice as they are on the backfoot heading into the second leg of the group stage qualifiers after losing 1-0 away to Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy in the first leg.
However, speaking at their base yesterday ahead of Galaxy’s visit to Orlando Stadium today, Riveiro explained that their latest results could be a double-edged sword.
“We’ve said a few times that we are coming from difficult results and in three different competitions,” Riveiro said, before adding that this might be a blessing in disguise.
“Sometimes those results are convenient during the process – to understand that when you are not your best and don’t have the proper mindset, you can easily look like a different team.”
Since taking over the reins last term, Riveiro has changed a lot of mindsets, having turned his naysayers, who called him a “plumber”, into admirers after winning a Cup double and finishing second in the league.
That’s why he is pumped up for the challenge of taking the team back to the group stage of the Champions League after a four-year absence.
“It doesn’t matter (what happened in the first leg). It’s about us (today) to perform to our best,” Riveiro said.
“It’s our home game against a good team and an opponent that is already leading 1-0, so it’s a challenge, but we love the challenge!”
Sure, Riveiro might have worked his way into the hearts of The Ghost last season, but Pirates supporters will only really come to adore him once he returns them to the top of African football.
With his predecessors over the last 28 years having failed to achieve that feat, Riveiro could take a huge step into etching his name to the history club’s books if they qualify for the group stage.
The 48-year-old knows that won’t be easy, though, given their defeat in the first leg, but he has vowed they will make life be difficult for Morena Ramoreboli’s players in Orlando.
“We want to prove that even in difficult circumstances we can be at our best. The games that we already played in the competition are not going to play,” Riveiro said.
“What happened in Botswana is in the past and tonight we can write an important page in the club’s history – for our future and many other things.
“The players want to go to the group stage of the competition and test themselves against the best teams on the continent.
“So, if we don’t a get the result tonight, it’s not that we are not going to try everything. It’s going to be difficult for us, but it will be more difficult for the opponent.”