As Orlando Pirates dropped valuable points against AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday, coach Jose Riveiro says it is still too early for everyone to rule them out of the DStv Premiership title race.
Riveiro was responding after he was asked that it doesn’t help his side’s aspiration to battle with Sundowns, who have a clean record of having won their opening eight league matches of the season and sitting pretty at the top.
Pirates, who were tipped by many to go toe-to-toe with Sundowns, looking at the depth of the squad, are sagging in 13th in the DStv Premiership with eight points from six matches – with two wins, two draws and two losses.
However, they still have two games in hand over Sundowns. But as the cliché goes, having games in hands doesn’t reflect the points gained.
Pirates, despite having flown out of the blocks in the helter-skelter game at the Moses Mabhida Stadium against Usuthu, hardly troubled Veli Mothwa in goals, and dropped two valuable points after their recent wins in the cup competitions.
But Riveiro has everyone to remain calm and not press the panic buttons.
“It is six games [we have played]. It is six games in the league,” said the Spaniard, who has won all three domestic cups on offer since he was appointed by the Buccaneers.
“We are going to do our analysis in the league after six games? Be patient. There is still a long way to go.
“Like I said, on Wednesday, we collected one point away. We have to be always positive, it is one point and it is going to help us to continue.
“We know – the players know and I know – that this is not a 0-0 performance. But this is football, this can happen and we need to try to avoid that to happen very frequently but like I said we are not happy with the results – it goes without saying.
“What if one of those chances we created is going to the net? We would be talking a different story, that ‘Pirates are back, blah blah blah’. It’s only one result, be patient.”
Pirates, who went on to win the cup double last term, also started very slow in the league last season, garnering just five wins before the FIFA World Cup break in November 2022.
But when the season resumed late in December, they came back strong, collecting 11 wins to end up finishing second in the DStv Premiership with 54 points but still 16 behind Sundowns, who won the league with seven games to spare.
Pirates return to action on Friday, when they host Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium on Friday (19:30).