League is the most important, not Pirates’ cup success, says Riveiro
Bucs next face an AmaZulu oozing confidence after knocking Chiefs out of the Carling Cup
Contrary to popular belief, Orlando Pirates are not prioritising cup competitions over the Premiership title — and coach Jose Riveiro says the reality that such a high-profile club have not won the league in 11 years bothers him.
Pirates will be out to improve on their 14th place in the Premiership, having played only five games to most teams’ eight or nine, when they meet AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday (7.30pm).
Under Riveiro, Bucs have appeared to be cup specialists, winning all three domestic trophies they have taken part in since the Spanish coach arrived ahead of last season.
Pirates would now seem favourites to win the Carling Knockout Cup, where they are set to meet struggling Richards Bay FC in the quarterfinals after Bucs’ 2-0 last-16 win against Cape Town Spurs at Orlando Stadium on Friday.
The other big teams — Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Cape Town City — have been knocked out of the tournament.
Riveiro stressed that the league, which they last won in 2011/12, remains top of mind for Bucs. “It’s a fact we haven’t won the league in a long time,” Riveiro said.
“The league is the most important competition. [You play] 30 games away and home against everybody in every type of circumstance, under hot and raining [conditions]. So it’s the most important competition and we really want to find our rhythm in that competition.”
Pirates finished second to six-time successive champions Sundowns last season under Riveiro, but were far behind with 16 points separating them. This season they trail Downs by 17 points well before the halfway stage having lost two games, though the number of games in hand remains a major factor.
Riveiro insisted Pirates will apply the same energy to league and cup games.
“It’s a particular situation [because] in the last 65 or 66 days we have played two league games, which is very unusual. [On Friday] we played our fourth competition in two-and-a-half months.
“We are trying to maintain the level in every tournament we play in. It’s difficult mentally to face this amount of competition in a short space of time, but our intention is at the same level in our league games.
“We are now one 100% focused on the AmaZulu game on Tuesday.
“I think my opinion will be shared by other coaches in the world — the league is the most important tournament. It doesn’t mean other tournaments are not important. Every competition has relevance because [it presents] an opportunity to improve the history of the club.”
AmaZulu will be oozing confidence after knocking Chiefs out of the Carling Cup on Saturday.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.