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Orlando Pirates coach Riveiro told to get used to pressure by Lekoelea

1:54 PM EST 12/8/22
Jose Riveiro Orlando Pirates.
Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Steve Lekoelea has calmed down the Buccaneers fans’ expectations on coach Jose Riveiro.
  • Pirates are campaigning to end a decade of PSL title drought
  • They already trail Sundowns in the title race
  • But Lekoelea asks coach Riveiro not to succumb to pressure

WHAT HAPPENED? Pirates are bidding for their first Premier Soccer League title in a decade and the responsibility falls on Riveiro to end that long wait. The Spaniard was appointed Pirates coach in June and is trying to succeed in a role a number of coaches failed. He has already guided Pirates to MTN8 success a few months into his job.

After coaching youth teams in his native Spain and then working in the Finnish top-flight league, the Pirates job is arguably Riveiro’s most demanding role. Lekoelea urges that Riveiro should get used to the pressure that comes with coaching the Soweto giants and he also asks fans to be patient with the team.

WHAT THEY SAID: “It’s normal at Pirates [for fans to apply pressure]. It’s a different stage and the pressure is different. It’s something he [Riveiro] just has to get used to,” Lekoelea told KickOff.

“I don’t think the team is doing too badly. They just have to start scoring goals. The supporters have to be patient and give the team a chance.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pirates’ bid to end the long wait for the PSL title already appears difficult. They are fifth on the PSL standings with nine points fewer than leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who have played a game less.

That presents a huge task for them to close in on Masandawana who have been dominating the domestic football landscape in recent seasons. While Sundowns are a concern for the Buccaneers, other teams like Kaizer Chiefs, Richards Bay and SuperSport United are also a worry for Pirates.

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR RIVEIRO? The Spaniard is busy preparing his side to return to competitive action at the end of December. Pirates resume their league campaign with a visit to Mamelodi Sundowns. It is a big fixture they will use to gauge if they prepared well during the current Fifa World Cup break.