Saturday, July 20, 2024
HomeBafana BafanaRiveiro - Nobody Will Complain About Them, Sends Mofokeng Warning

Riveiro – Nobody Will Complain About Them, Sends Mofokeng Warning

Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro has discussed the Bafana Bafana call-ups of Patrick Maswanganyi and Relebohile Mofokeng ahead of the Nedbank Cup final.

The Pirates attacking duo are included alongside centre-back Nkosanathi Sibisi into Broos’ squad set to face Nigeria and Zimbabwe in the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Broos made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, two days ahead of the domestic cup final between Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns at Mbombela on Saturday.

Mofokeng has been one of the standout players for Pirates and favourite to scoop the PSL Young Player of the Season while Maswanganyi, who made his senior national team debut against Andorra in the last squad, earned several nominations for the annual PSL awards.

“The national team list is the national team coaches’ criteria so that might be a question for Mr Broos, obviously I think Maswanganyi and Mofokeng are new kids on the block, they made an impact, and an important one during this season,” Riveiro said.

“I think we’re talking about two players, whichever team you support you like to see them playing football, let’s be honest. So I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised or not happy with their presence in the national team.

“Hopefully they have an opportunity to be themselves there and make all of us proud that they’re in the Bafana squad. Everybody knows Sibisi and what he’s capable of doing, his professionalism, discipline and defensive ability to contribute as well, in Pirates, anytime someone is called for the national team, whichever national team we are so happy.

“Obviously as good as we can play, the better our results are, the more people will look at our players and you know of the 36 [players] we have, to see which one can be useful for the Bafana coach to be in his plans to get good results.”

With Mofokeng receiving his first-ever national team call-up, Riveiro dismissed it may see him lose focus for the upcoming final, but suggested that he needs to be wary of the attention he may now receive, but feels at his age, more is around the corner.

“Rele is exceptionally smart, I don’t think it’s going to be an extra anything, extra pressure or extra confidence, he just wants to play football,” Riveiro stated.

“And that’s what he must do, just play. Everything else is a consequence of his performances, nothing is coming for free, he knows the road, he knows what to do. And if something is coming from call-ups, I think it’s more confidence to play football.

“At the same time, it’s getting the attention from opponents, so as much as you are getting more people talking about you, the opponent is always going to put more attention on you as well – so you need to show you can overcome that obstacles, that new challenge when opponents are also planning.

“That’s where Rele is right now, in that process of continuing improving, continuing developing his football, trying to be more complete and little by little being close to the football player he can be, which is still coming.”

Bafana take on the Super Eagles on Friday, June 7, in Uyo before welcoming the Warriors to the Free State Stadium on Tuesday, June 11.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.