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Orlando Pirates coach Riveiro: We cannot evaluate our strikers on just goals

21:11 EAT 22/08/2022
Jose Riveiro, Orlando Pirates, August 2022
The Buccaneers have managed just three goals in five matches so far in this campaign as their attacking frailties of recent seasons continue

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro says his forwards should not be judged only by the number of goals they have scored.

The Soweto giants have been struggling upfront, with Bienvenue Eva Nga the only striker to have found the back of the net in five Premier Soccer League matches this season.

Their other two goals have come from centre-back Nkosinathi Sibisi and left-back Deon Hotto.

But Riveiro has defended his forwards, saying they are contributing much more than goals.

“We have five strikers in the squad. They must do a lot of things to win the games, in attack and in defence, when we lose the ball and when we recover the ball,” said Riveiro as per Sowetan Live.

“We cannot just evaluate our strikers because of the number of goals they score, they are doing much more. When our number can get the ball free, it’s because there are a lot of things happening around them.

“And our number nine who is playing alone up-front, usually dealing with two centre-backs, with three centrebacks, there are a lot of things they are doing. I know of course they are the first ones who want to finish the season with a lot of goals

“They are professional football players and they have to deal with whatever happens around them. It’s a must, it’s the nature of our jobs.”

Since Frank Mhango scored 16 league goals during the 2019/20 season, Pirates forwards have found it hard to reach double figures in the last two terms.

That saw them bringing in Eva Nga and Evidence Makgopa ahead of the current season as they look for solutions upfront.

Makgopa is yet to make his Pirates debut due to injury while Eva Nga has become a target of booing from fans for wasting a gluttony of scoring opportunities.

“We cannot be affected by the supporters, or the opponents’ supporters and what they are saying, or if they are cheating us, or if they are anxious or nervous,” Riveiro said.

“It’s in our salary, we have to deal with it and it might be if I put myself in their boots, a motivation to show they have the capacity to make them [the supporters] happy.

“In the end that’s what they want, to celebrate the goals. And sometimes they are harassing, but it’s something that will not change. We have to deal with it and accept it.”

The next test for Pirates forwards is when they host Marumo Gallants on Wednesday.