Riveiro hails ‘mentally strong’ Pirates after MTN8 final triumph

Jose Riveiro believes that he side has played better matches previously, only difference was that they scored

Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro was all smiles when he addressed the media after lifting his first trophy in South African football. It was Monnapule Saleng’s goal that proved to be a winner for the Soweto giants over AmaZulu FC, who were hoping to keep the trophy in KwaZulu-Natal, where the final took place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The Sea Robbers won this trophy for a record fourth time since 2008, when MTN became the competition’s sponsor. They will now keep the trophy permanently, with the sponsor set to introduce a new-look trophy next season.

Riveiro, who joined Pirates in the off-season this year, praised his side for not being mentally disturbed, after their teammate Nkosinathi Sibisi suffered an injury, that forced him off within the first minute of the match. 

“This is pure happiness,” the delighted Riveiro told the media in his post-match press conference at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“There is nothing like winning, almost nothing like it for us, it’s been a difficult game, the last two weeks were not the easy ones for us for many different reasons. 

“The way we started was really tough, when we [had] to change [Nkosinathi] Sibisi after the first minute and that’s the key for me, the way the team reacted after that. 

“We did not lose focus at all; we did not change anything about the plan because the guys, they [were] all prepared to execute our plan. And that maybe is the strength of this team, they are very [united].

“We showed today that we are mentally strong, we are improving and growing.”

The ‘Spanish guitar’ has another opportunity to top this MTN8 glory with the Carling Black Label Cup, as the one-day tournament will take place on Saturday, 12 November at the FNB Stadium.

Pirates will clash with Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-finals, and surely they will be looking for a response after they lost the Soweto derby in the DStv Premiership last week. In the other semi-final, AmaZulu will take on Mamelodi Sundowns before the two finalists meet later, to determine the winner of the competition.

Riveiro Jose coach of Orlando Pirates during the DStv Premiership 2022/23 match between Sekhukhune United and Orlando Pirates held at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on 4 October 2022 © Kabelo/BackpagePix