Not securing second berth would be failure: Jose

Bucs' Champions League fate not in their hands ahead of last tie

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Kamogelo Sebelebele of TS Galaxy and Makhehleni Makhaula of Orlando Pirates during their match on Saturday.
Kamogelo Sebelebele of TS Galaxy and Makhehleni Makhaula of Orlando Pirates during their match on Saturday.
Image: Alche Greeff

Orlando Pirates may have already bagged the MTN8 and secured their slot in the Nedbank Cup final.

However, according to the club’s tactician, Jose Riveiro, failing to qualify for the CAF Champions League would mean a bad campaign.

Pirates’ chances of finishing as the DStv Premiership runners up to secure a Champions League spot for next season look rather slim after suffering their second successive league defeat away to TS Galaxy at the weekend. Pirates had also lost to Richards Bay at home three days earlier.

After the Galaxy game at Mbombela Stadium, Riveiro was quick to dismiss the concept that his troops may now be tired, saying that can’t be the case at a club like Pirates. The Spaniard conceded that failing to finish second behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns would mean they had a poor season.

“You can’t be fatigued if you are playing this type of games, playing for the big objective which is to put Orlando Pirates in the Champions League next season,” Riveiro said.

“I think there’s no need to go an extra mile, players and coaching staff, to make sure that the club finish at least second because we can’t finish first, obviously. Anything less than that, is not going to be a good season for us.”

To finish second, third-placed Pirates need to beat SuperSport United at home in their last league game of the season on Saturday and hope Stellenbosch don’t win away to Richards Bay in a synchronised fixture. The Sea Robbers face Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup decider at Mbombela Stadium on June 1.

“We need to win the game against SuperSport on Saturday and wait that Stellenbosch don’t have a good day and if they have a good day, then they’ll be in the Champions League next season and that’d be well deserved for them,” Riveiro said.

Riveiro gave his assessment of their rather unconvincing display at Galaxy, where Sphiwe Mahlangu’s solitary strike sank them.

“Many things went wrong today...we were very slow at the beginning of the game. We took too much time to progress and we played to our opponent’s strengths, giving them the possibilities to run in transition. I think in the second half we were better than we were in the first half, controlling the game and creating chances,” Riveiro said.

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