Victorious Pirates now set to defend title

Orlando Pirates players celebrate after beating Chippa United on Saturday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and progressing to the Nedbank Cup final. | BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates players celebrate after beating Chippa United on Saturday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and progressing to the Nedbank Cup final. | BackpagePix

Published May 6, 2024


Ongama Gcwabe

NEXT month, Jose Riveiro will finish his second year as head coach of the mighty Orlando Pirates. The 48-year-old has had a relatively successful period with a club that demands consistent silverware.

In this time, Riveiro has added three trophies to the cabinets at Orlando Stadium – the MTN8 (twice) and the Nedbank Cup, while this past weekend, the Spaniard’s troops booked a spot in the final in defence of their title after comprehensively beating Chippa United 3-1 in Gqeberha on Saturday.

Jose Riveiro, coach of Orlando Pirates, during the Nedbank Cup semi-final match against Chippa United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday. | Sydney Mahlangu BackpagePix

This means that the Buccaneers are set for a fourth successive final in two seasons, an achievement that Riveiro has every reason to talk up.

Riveiro has described the past two years as a period where he not only engineered an eye-catching style of football, but one in which he also had to set up a healthy team environment to motivate the players to bring their A-games when donning the black and white of the Soweto giants.

“It’s quite unique to be in four finals in a row. It tells a lot of good things about the process that we’re going through in our club. This is a team achievement,” Riveiro said after their victory in the Nedbank Cup semi-final at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

“The level of ambition of the team in these types of tournaments and the level of commitment; we’re not just winning in this tournament, but we’re playing memorable games for us and we’re going to play one more, which is going to be in our memories forever.

“Last season to win the Nedbank, we worked very hard in each and every game, maybe not playing the type of football that the guys are playing right now, but again it’s part of the process. Now we’re playing much more confidently and competing the way that we competed last season at the same time.

“The reason is obviously the talent of the players and the commitment with the way that we want to play. And the happiness around the group means confidence, camaraderie, brotherhood and all the things that you have to put around these talented players to make them perform the way that they are doing the whole year.”

— Nedbank Sport (@nedbanksport) May 4, 2024

With the cup competition objectives achieved, Pirates will have to cast their attention back to the league, where they will face coach Kwanele Kopo’s Chippa United once again.

The Buccaneers will play hosts this time around, an advantage that will undoubtedly boost the team in what is expected to be a close encounter.

Riveiro says the fixture is important to the team given their ambitions of finishing the season in second place.

“We want to be in the second position in the end of the season and to make it possible we know we have to win every point,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be something too different than today’s game (Nedbank Cup semi-final). Obviously, the reward is different, it’s not the same playing for being in the final or the three points, but for us it’s another final.

“After these 90 minutes we know each other even better than before so I’m sure it’s going to be a very tight game that is going to be defined in very small margins.”