Jose Riveiro won’t hold Orlando Pirates stars back for Cape Town Spurs battle

Jose’ Riveiro says Orlando Pirates will be at full strength against Cape Town Spurs. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Jose’ Riveiro says Orlando Pirates will be at full strength against Cape Town Spurs. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Oct 20, 2023


Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has revealed that he is preparing to unleash his strongest possible side in the Round of 16 of the inaugural Carling Knockout Cup on Friday night at the Orlando Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm) against Cape Town Spurs.

The Buccaneers head into this contest as overwhelming favourites, given their recent success in cup competitions, form and squad quality.

For Spurs, a visit to one of the most feared stadiums in the country against a side still riding high on their MTN8 triumph is not what they would’ve picked if they had a choice, making this trip a daunting one.

The ‘head honcho’ at the Buccaneers has garnered a reputation for calculated squad rotation in his first 15 months at the club, a tactic that has seen him capture three cups in that period.

Riveiro now prepares his team to take on a Spurs side currently on an eight-game losing streak.

Many might suggest that the gulf in quality between the two teams might mean more of Pirates’ fringe players should be handed an opportunity in this encounter, with the likes of Sandile Mthethwa, Makhehleni Makhaula and Evidence Makgopa expected to get starts.

However, when quizzed about his team selection, Riveiro said that the factor that influences his squad rotation is fixture congestion and not the strength of the opponents.

The Spanish mentor also stated that he would look to put out his strongest available XI against Spurs and also warned against approaching cup competitions the same way they would league encounters.

“I think we should always differentiate between the one cup competition to the other. For our opponents, it’s a new opportunity in a different competition – probably without the pressure to be fighting for the three points, which makes them more dangerous,” he said.

“Everybody is expecting us to perform at a certain level and the only thing that makes us change between the games is how tight the schedule is.

“Regarding this game, there is nothing really special. We are looking for our best starting XI - as good as possible, to try and give continuity again.

“We come from a cup final with a good performance, so want to continue from there.”

Spurs interim head coach Vasili Manousakis will look to use this change of scenery as a means to spark a bit of positivity into his side following a horrid start to the season.

The Cape Town-based outfit will need the likes of Ashley Cupido and Luvuyo Phewa to have their scoring boots on if they are to have any chance at upsetting the favourites.