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Riveiro – Mabasa Wasn’t My Mistake

Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro says he can’t speak on the decisions of Tshegofatso Mabasa being sent out on loan over the past two seasons.

The 27-year-old is currently the second-highest scorer in the league with 10 goals after bagging a hat-trick in their 7-1 thrashing of Golden Arrows last weekend.

But he spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Moroka Swallows, where he rediscovered the scoring form that had him touted as one of the most clinical strikers in the country – after an indifferent spell at Sekhukhune United last season.

“How do we measure that [it was a mistake],” Riveiro said when asked about Mabasa’s loan moves perhaps being a mistake from the club and technical team.

“Okay… I have to tell the truth, when I arrived at Pirates, Tshego was not with us, this is my first time with Tshego. We had eight number nines when I put my foot in the training ground at Pirates, Tshego was not one of them.

“The reasons, I can’t really tell you. But probably related to his performances, for whatever reason. Or because in that moment some others were performing better, I don’t really know.

“I can’t really answer that question because I didn’t have that conversation with Tshego. I had a different one when he came back [from Swallows].”

The Spaniard insists he never had the former Bloemfontein Celtic star on the training pitch before his mid-season return from the cash-strapped Dube Birds where several players departed after not being paid at the club, including Steve Komphela as head coach.

With three goals in two games in the Nedbank Cup, Mabasa leads the scoring charts in the tournament ahead of their clash against AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

“I don’t really know, he was in a different space or if he was asking for a loan because he wants to be [playing more], or maybe at the time at Pirates was difficult for whatever reason, what I know is that he’s back, he’s performing at a really good level,” he added.

“He’s… like I said many times already, helping us to play better, not only to score goals, again going back to the result and performances, we’re not looking at the striker because he’s scoring goals or not, goals are welcome obviously.

“There’s many more things to do on the field before we score the goal, hopefully he continues in the space, and shape – because it’s nice to see a player of his talent, performing in this way, at this level.

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“The reasons why he couldn’t make it before? It’s a good question, but wrong person.”

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.