Is Orlando Pirates coach Riveiro strangling Bucs with defensive approach?

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Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, Kama Billiat, Orlando Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs, October 2022
As the Buccaneers struggle for league form, their Spanish head coach Jose Riveiro will be coming under increasing scrutiny

While Orlando Pirates have largely been solid defensively this season, their lack of potency in attack is a concern.

It wasn't long ago that things were looking quite promising for Riveiro, especially after he had

helped the club win the MTN8 competition.

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But while a cup run is about momentum, leagues are about consistency, and with just one win in the last seven DStv Premiership fixtures, the pressure is mounting.

Pirates find themselves in eighth spot with 19 points from 15 games, 11 goals conceded, and only 10 scored.

That means they're taking one-and-a-half games to produce a goal. It means they're the joint fourth-lowest scorers, and they have netted 20 fewer goals than Sundowns.

Last week's hiring of a striker coach (Scott Chickelday)- may help, though it could take time to see results.

There is also a case to be made that Riveiro has not made the best use of Bucs' exciting array of attacking talent.

Injuries have played a part - like with Evidence Makgopa and Thembinkosi Lorch. But even so, Riveiro has been unable to inspire some of the many attacking talents.

He's also been hesitant to allow new signing Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, to start games, despite the thrust and creativity he usually provides.

The coach usually prefers to play two defensive midfielders, which helps prevent conceding goals, but it tends to mean less fluency in attack. He's also at times earlier in the season played three centre-backs.

Zakhele Lepasa, Orlando Pirates, September 2022

Someone like Zakhele Lepasa, who broke into the Bafana side last term, has been used quite sparingly up front.

We've hardly seen Kwame Peprah or Fortune Makaringe in action and Dion Hotto's employment as a left-wing-back earlier in the campaign is another good case in point.

Vincent Pule is another example of an exciting attacking player not really thriving and he too has been used on and off. It could be argued that Pule would bring more than Kabelo Dlamini to the starting XI.

Perhaps if Riveiro decides to throw caution a little bit more to the wind by unleashing some more of Pirates' skilful and pacey attackers from the start, the Buccaneers could start scoring more goals and winning more games.

And following a host of new signings, and several injury returnees, the options are there.