Johannesburg - Cape Town-born former professional footballer Leroy Maluka has suggested that new Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has a lot to offer South African football. Riveiro was recently appointed as the new full-time coach of the Sea Robbers in news that surprised many.
The Spaniard had never before coached in South Africa and much of his work in football management thus far has been in assistant roles.
Maluka who spent the bulk of his football career in Finland is one of the few South Africans who is familiar with Riveiro. The 36-year-old has also since forged a coaching career in Finland and earlier this year was appointed as the assistant coach of Espoon Palloseuran Jalkapallo ry (EPS).
Riveiro arrived along with assistant coach Sergio Almenara and fitness trainer Miguel Bellver Esteve. Mandla Ncikazi who co-coached the Sea Robbers along with Fadlu Davids last season has also since been demoted to assistant coach.
“He’s a very good coach. I think he is someone who is going to bring a lot to South African football but as to what style he prefers I will leave that to him to talk about. I enjoyed working with him in Finland and I know the two guys he is bringing with him as staff very well,” said Maluka on SABC.
Some South African fans have strongly criticised the appointment of Riveiro, especially as it involved the experienced Ncikazi being demoted. However, Maluka has encouraged Riveiro to ignore the criticism he is receiving on social media.
“What is important for him is to shut out all the nonsense and speculation on social media. People talk. I know that he is a very professional coach and it is a massive boost that he has two familiar people with him as staff. I worked with both of them at FC Inter and obviously as a fitness coach. I grew a lot closer to the fitness trainer Esteve and we have been talking. I knew all along that they were coming to South Africa. I think this is a great appointment,” said Maluka.
Riveiro most recently coached FC Inter in Finland over a three-year spell. One fact about him that is interesting and unlike other European journeymen who coach in South Africa is that he stays at clubs for an average of 3.04 years. This represents a long time in modern football.