Are Orlando Pirates moving backwards under Riveiro?

Jose Riveiro Orlando Piratesbackpagepix

Orlando Pirates’ opening day win over Swallows has been followed by a draw against Stellenbosch FC and a defeat to Chippa United.

Just a point from the last two games does not make for reason to panic. But what is becoming apparent is that there is not a great deal of cohesion in the side at present; Bucs are yet to impress in any of their three outings so far.

There’s been little to suggest that there will be a a big change from last season when Pirates were inconsistent domestically - yet showed their potential by making it to the Caf Confederation Cup final.

Currently though there are some clear contributing factors as to why Bucs have failed to hit the ground running, and the new coach can’t be blamed for several of those.

In players like Vincent Pule, Thembinkosi Lorch, Deon Hotto and Kwame Peprah, Pirates have some proper match winners.

The problem though is that of the quartet, it’s only Hotto and to a lesser degree Peprah, who steer clear of injuries. Peprah and Pule both made their first appearances of the season against Chippa and Lorch is yet to get back to his best. So the four barely ever play together as a unit.

Evidence Makgopa meanwhile probably has the most potential to be the best of Pirates’ new signings and losing the Bafana striker to injury has been another setback out of Riveiro’s control.

What was also beyond the Spaniard’s direct control was his team’s inability to take their chances – they dominated those as well as the possession stats vs the Chilli Boys - but ended up losing.

These were the same sort of problems the Buccaneers had last season and another of Pirates’ new signings, Bienevu Eva Nga, is yet to fully convince in attack.

Riveiro’s problem is that his team has some tough matches coming up and they don’t look an especially settled side – several changes have been made to the starting XI’s so far, and as mentioned, some players are not at the peak of their games, fitness or form wise.

With Royal AM, SuperSport United and Marumo Gallants to come in quick succession, the pressure will quickly mount on the new man at the helm if a couple more matches are lost.

Four points from nine

Are Bucs headed in the right direction under the new coach?