Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro won’t be making changes for Cup clash

Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates are not getting carried away by the expectations of challenging for the remaining honours, including finishing runners-up in the DStv Premiership and winning the Nedbank Cup.

Pirates started the season on a high, as they became the team to beat after winning the MTN8.

But that form flattened in the league as they failed to regularly record wins, resulting in falling way behind runaway log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns in the title race.

Pirates have since improved on their performances, resulting in them being one of two teams that could win a domestic double – alongside Sundowns – as they are still in the running for the Nedbank Cup. They’ll face Venda Football Academy in the last-16 on Saturday.

However, that is not their only goal as they could still finish second in the league and qualify for the CAF Champions League next season.

The Buccaneers have been so good that Monnapule Saleng is regarded as one of the frontrunners for the PSL Footballer of the Season award, while four of their players got a nod for the 35-man Bafana Bafana preliminary squad that will face Liberia in back-to-back 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers this month.

Amid all the attention and the expectation that his team have been getting in recent weeks, coach Jose Riveiro has pleaded for humility from his troops.

“We are proud of our boys. And not only the ones who are getting call-ups for the South African national team, but from other countries as well,” Riveiro said.

“I am a good coach when my team is playing well – and I am not playing. We are reaping the good work of the collective. So I am very happy with that.

“I try to run away from making remarks about individual performances because I trust collective work. So what to do to keep our feet on the ground?

“I don’t think there’s much to do. We are (already) a humble group. We try to guide and ride our group using some certain values, and humbleness is one of them.”

After hammering Swallows FC 4-1 in the “original” Soweto derby last Friday, it would be easier for Pirates to undermine their Motsepe Foundation Championship opponents.

But that won’t be the case.

Since they want to build on the momentum and keep the empathy among the players going as well, Riveiro won’t be tweaking his regular starting line-up much for the clash.

“We don’t rotate,” Riveiro said.

“We are playing one game a week, so if you find any change in our starting XI, regarding the last game, it will be because someone is not available.

“It’s still early, so a lot of things can happen before Saturday. Or else, the coach decides to introduce a different player, different profile or tactical quality.

“But it’s not because of rotation. We can talk about that if we have to play after every two or three days. And that’s not the case. We wait for a week to play.”

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