Jose Riveiro sees silver lining in erratic Orlando Pirates displays

Jose Riveiro, coach of Orlando Pirates during the DStv Premiership 2023/24 football match between Richards Bay and Orlando Pirates at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi, Durban

Jose Riveiro’s Orlando Pirates have now failed to score in eight matches in all competitions in the 2023-2024 campaign, a worrisome statistic for a club with ambitions of challenging for league honours. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Nov 27, 2023


Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro has refused to swallowed up by the black spot of negativity surrounding his team’s unstable recent run of results.

The Buccaneers were frustrated by 15th-placed Richards Bay at the King Zwelithini Stadium as the two sides walked away with a point apiece in their DStv Premiership clash over the weekend. Pirates have often been accused of lacking a killer instinct in the opponent’s final third after failing to turn fine displays into match-winning ones.

Riveiro’s men have now failed to score in eight matches in all competitions in the 2023-2024 campaign, a worrisome statistic for a club with ambitions of challenging for league honours.

The Sea Robbers will now have to make up an eight-point gap on Mamelodi Sundowns as soon as possible with the defending champions yet to return to domestic action after a month of continental commitments. Currently Cape Town City top the log on 25 points, one ahead of Sundowns but having playing a staggering five games more than the champions.

Positive signs

Despite sitting in eighth place in the DStv premiership standings after 11 matches, Riveiro has refused to let his side’s shortcomings cloud the positive signs they are showing.

“We won the last two games, today we draw. That’s seven points out of nine. Playing a derby and then playing away at Richards Bay, it’s not that bad,” he said after the match.

“Now we talk about all those times we dropped points from early in the season and most recently against AmaZulu and Polokwane City, a couple of draws that are not pushing us a bit higher on the log but the momentum of the team is good.

“As I said, seven out of nine points in a period that wasn’t so good for us, we cannot say that we are in a bad place. The team is playing well. There’s nothing wrong. Maybe we could start games better but I’m not worried about the lack of goals.”

Their failure to find the breakthrough against the Natal Rich Boyz means Pirates have scored two goals in their last four matches.

Lepasa absence

They are missing the contributions of Bafana Bafana striker Zakhele Lepasa.

He took the current campaign by storm in the early stages, firing in 10 goals in his first 11 matches of the season, witrh many predicting that he would score more than 20 goals in a campaign for the first time in his career.

However, the goals have dried up because of niggling injuries as well as a loss of form that has seen him replaced by Bafana teammate Evidence Makgopa.

The 23-year-old has not been able to fill those boots for club and country, although he scored twice

in his seven outings, the most memorable being his match-winning strike in the Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs.

The Buccaneers still have 15 points to compete for before the turn of the year with difficult fixtures against Moroka Swallows, TS Galaxy, Golden Arrows, SuperSport United and Stellenbosch FC.

Having played three more games than pace-setting Sundowns, if the Buccaneers drop more points it could prove suicidal to their league ambitions. The Dube Birds visit the Orlando Stadium on December 5.