Jose Riveiro would love to see more fans at Orlando Stadium

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro during their DStv Premiership match against Royal AM at Orlando Stadium on August 8 2023.
Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro during their DStv Premiership match against Royal AM at Orlando Stadium on August 8 2023.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro would love to see more supporters attend the club's home games at Orlando Stadium.

While a small but vocal crowd enjoyed Bucs' exciting 4-2 DStv Premiership victory against Royal AM on Tuesday night, bouncing back from a 1-0 defeat away to Stellenbosch FC in their season opener, Orlando Stadium is hardly ever close to half-full outside big matches.

This is despite Bucs' promising first season under Spaniard Riveiro in 2022-23, winning the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup and finishing second in the league, and putting together a squad they believe can push six-time successive Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns close for the title in 2023-24.

Riveiro admitted he was surprised at attendances even for big three clubs in South Africa when he arrived in the country last year, and said he hopes Bucs' fans will feel something special could be happening at their club that might attract more numbers to Orlando.

“As a foreigner I have been here a bit now, but in the beginning it was a bit of a surprise for me about why not more [supporters]?” the coach said.

“I said it after the game that they are pushing us all the way. But we have space for more.

“I would really like to see the stadium sold out more frequently. If we want to continue growing together, it’s important we feel that support.

“For me it’s fine because I’m concentrating on my own stuff, but for the players it’s very important.

“Hopefully, I think little by little we are getting the numbers and I think if we compared today with our first game against Swallows a year ago, today was better. Tomorrow [Wednesday] is a holiday too so that also helps.

“But yes, it’s also about us [the team] to try to offer games that are as good as possible and invite the people to come and enjoy them with us.

“It’s not a discussion for us that we have a lot of fans everywhere. But we have space for more in the stadium.

“Thank you to the ones who come regularly. I can almost see that they are always the same [faces]. It’s very important for us to fill [the stadium].”

Poor attendances have been a huge problem in the Premier Soccer League. Varying degrees of marketing from the league and its clubs, many of whom are poor in this department, is partly to blame.

In recent years standards of security concerns, with instances of pitch invasions, sometimes violent, or supporters expressing unhappiness at underperforming coaches, has created poor press for the league as a family-friendly live viewing option for sports fans. 

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