The Buccaneers’ victory over Mamelodi Sundowns not only broke a run of three defeats to the Brazilians, but may have also enforced a few positives within the squad.
Goalkeeper Sipho Chaine has done enough to earn the trust of coach Jose Riveiro in the past 12 months, but may have just endeared himself to The Ghost with his heroics in the final at the weekend.
The 26-year-old put behind criticism from the club’s fans as he saved three penalties in the shootout, in an overall fine performance to ensure Pirates defended their MTN8 crown.
Many have likened Chaine’s heroics to ones similar to those of the late Senzo Meyiwa, who also earned his stripes with memorable penalty saves on his way to making his way into the starting XI.
The former Bloemfontein Celtic player took over the gloves from
No 1 Richard Ofori in the middle of last season and has not looked back since, in the process earning the respect of Riveiro.
Chaine has not had a smooth transition into the No 1 jersey though, almost causing a few heart attacks with his attempts to help Pirates build from the back.
Riveiro defended the goalkeeper after the MTN8 final, stating that if fans are to blame anyone for those lapses, then it should be the coach himself, who demands Chaine takes those risks.
“Well, they (the fans) should blame me and not Sipho because the team is trying to play in a way where we are all committed and sometimes we need that pass to the keeper,” Riveiro said.
“It’s pretty easy to understand, it’s XI against XI and if Sipho is on the ball then it’s 11 against 10 because the opponent’s keeper is not going to press.
“We need the keeper to play, and sometimes the keeper takes time because the ball won’t move until someone jumps to press.
“The people need to understand that during that moment it’s not a good moment to stress the keeper.”
For the Spaniard, it’s been a remarkable experience so far in SA football having won all three domestic Cup trophies he has led his team in.
Having arrived on SA shores as relatively unknown, the 48-year-old has now etched his name in the history of Pirates as well as the hearts of the Buccaneers faithful.
Riveiro has made it no secret that he intends to wrestle the Premiership trophy off the hands of Sundowns and continues to mould his side towards that goal.
Pirates have also gathered momentum towards possibly lifting the upcoming Carling Knockout Cup as well as defend their Nedbank Cup title once more.