Orlando Pirates’ Jose Riveiro: We are hard workers, that’s why we get trophies

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro during the MTN8 semi-final first leg Stellenbosch FC against Orlando Pirates at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town

Orlando Pirates are eager to relive the ‘extraordinary memories’ of the Nedbank Cup by defending their crown this season according to Sea Robbers’ coach Jose Riveiro. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 23, 2024


Orlando Pirates are eager to relive the “extraordinary memories” of the Nedbank Cup by defending their crown this season, says coach Jose Riveiro.

But they’ll have to first scale the hurdle presented by Safa Mpumalanga Regional League side Crystal Lake FC at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off).

At the pre-match media conference at the PSL offices in Parktown on Thursday, Riveiro said they’ll work hard to achieve the success of last season.

“We are hard workers – that’s why we manage to get trophies. There’s nothing else besides that, and we want to repeat the same (feat) this season,” he said.

‘Extraordinary memories’

“When I think about this competition, I can only think about beautiful memories in all the games we played – extraordinary memories in the semi-final and final.

“So, we want to be there again. But the way to do that is to win every game in the competition. This is a knockout game, and not the league.”

Pirates were cup specialists last season. They won the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup in Riveiro’s first season in charge.

They were tipped to take that up a notch this term and challenge for all four trophies, including the DStv Premiership and inaugural Carling Knockout Cup.

And they indeed get off to a flying start, defending the MTN8 against perennial league champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

But that proved to be a false start. Pirates stuttered in their bid to knock Sundowns off their perch in the league, while they crashed out in the Carling Knockout quarter-final.

Not all is doom and gloom for Pirates, though. They could still save their season by repeating last term’s efforts: finishing second in the league and winning a cup double.

Having won the MTN8, they are now eyeing the Nedbank Cup to complete the cup double.

Matches not won on paper

But that won’t come easily either.

On paper, Pirates are the favourites against Crystal Lake, given the gulf in history between the teams and quality at their disposal.

However, 51-year-old Spaniard Riveiro has been around the block long enough to know that matches are not won on paper, but on the pitch.

After all, this is the premium football cup competition in the land, and it’s where dreams are fulfilled. Hence the competition lives by the ‘David versus Goliath’ mantra.

“If you are relaxed, you’ll crash out. History is full of these types of games. When you think everything is done before the game starts is the most difficult in sport,” Riveiro said.

“Surprises and nice history always happen for these types of games. We want to take it seriously; we are going to play one team which will show it wants to win as well.”