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Riveiro – Players Want The Truth…

Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro says he needs to be honest with players in a squad where competition is rife for places in the starting line-up.

Having witnessed a season of Zakhele Lepasa, Evidence Makgopa and now Tshegofatso Mabasa become the leading number nine, something similar is emerging in defence.

Towards the back end of last season, Sandile Mthethwa became a key figure in the squad. And this time around Thabiso Sesane has returned to the fold after an injury to Olisa Ndah.

But with the Nigeria international back to full fitness for the last four games of the season, which include the Nedbank Cup final, decisions need to be made, and Sesane made way for the Nigerian in the 2-0 win over Chippa United, presumably to offer Ndah much-needed minutes.

“The players want to know the truth, that’s what I can tell you, so when we have the opportunity to speak with the players it’s to tell them the truth, otherwise we don’t speak,” Riveiro said when asked what conversation he will now have with Sesane.

“We speak when it’s necessary. In the case of Thabiso, he was not [just] there because of others being injured. We’ve actually had Nkosinathi Sibisi on the bench for the last three, four games, also Innocent Maela, who can play in that position, he did it several games this season.

“So if [Sesane] is in the starting eleven, [it means] he’s doing a good job and deserving to be there, otherwise, there’s a [huge] competition for that position at Pirates if you think about the names that we have in that [centre-back] line. 

“He’s performing well, that’s why he was consistently in the starting eleven, but the competition isn’t finished and they have to continue, all of them, delivering good performances because it’s not easy to get one of two positions as a centre-back at Pirates.”

Pirates face Richards Bay, TS Galaxy and SuperSport United in the final three league outings before the domestic cup final against Mamelodi Sundowns on 1 June.

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.