Pirates successfully defended the MTN8 crown last Saturday to ensure they won the last three Cup finals in South Africa, having also bagged the Nedbank Cup last season. But now the top flight has three Cup competitions, including the Carling Knockout, which was launched yesterday.
All 16 teams in the Premiership will compete in the new tournament, which will kick-off next weekend, with Pirates retaining the favourites tag. Riveiro, speaking from Hyde Park, Johannesburg, yesterday said he is focused on reaching another final, having put the past triumphs to bed.
“If you want to be in the final, you’ll have to beat more than just Pirates,” said Riveiro.
“What we did in the past is done. We must look to the future. We all start with the same probabilities of wanting to win the trophy.
“We are going to try (and win) again. But for sure, we are going to be a tough opponent for every team that we will meet in the competition.”
The Sea Robbers won’t be easy customers and given their Cup pedigree, their opponents will surely double their efforts against them as well. And that should start with their opening-match opponents - Cape Town Spurs - who’ll make the trip to Orlando.
Spurs are enduring a tough return to the top flight, having lost all seven of their league matches.
The game will come after the international break, and as a follow up to Pirates’ MTN8 final triumph over Sundowns. So will that serve as an advantage for Riveiro’s troops? “No, I don’t think so,” he said. “We can consider it like an advantage, but we can consider it like a disadvantage as well. We are coming from a final against Sundowns, the hype is extremely high. And now we are going to play a team that’s temporarily 16th on the log. “So, we need to find a way to prepare the players mentally to understand that it’s a knockout game. I am sure the players will understand the importance of the game and things are going to work well for us.”
Meanwhile, the player of the match - which will be voted for by supporters across all matches will pocket a cheque of R100 000.
During the Fak’iGoal Uzobona campaign, fans can predict which team will score first and in which minute, with the winner and the team set to win as much as R90 000 each. The winners on the Carling Knockout will battle the Carling Black Label Cup All Stars, which will be selected by fans, on 6 January.
Carling Knockout Last 16 fixtures: Orlando Pirates v Cape Town Spurs;
Kaizer Chiefs v AmaZulu; Chippa United v Stellenbosch; TS Galaxy v Mamelodi Sundowns; Golden Arrows v Cape Town City; SuperSport United v Polokwane City; Sekhukhune United v Royal AM; Richards Bay v Moroka Swallows