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Erasmus giving Orlando Pirates coach Riveiro a dilemma?

09:00 EAT 30/09/2022
Kermit Erasmus, Mamelodi Sundowns & Paseka Mako, Orlando Pirates, April 2021
The Buccaneers reached the semis by beating Royal AM while Masandawana saw off Tshwane neighbours SuperSport United.

How much game-time to give new Orlando Pirates signing Kermit Erasmus will surely be in the forefront of coach Jose Riveiro's thinking as he attempts to plot Mamelodi Sundowns’ downfall in Saturday’s MTN8 first leg semi-final encounter at Orlando Stadium.

The Sea Robbers will be looking to win the competition for the second time in three seasons having claimed it in 2020 under Josef Zinnbauer.

Will current coach Riveiro be tempted to use the renowned marksman from the start, or will he ease ‘Romeo’ in a little more slowly?

  • Kermit Erasmus of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Teboho Mokoena of Supersport United.

    The situation

    A late arrival in the transfer window, Erasmus signed for Pirates from Sundowns last week and now has the possibility of helping eliminate his former employees from the lucrative MTN8. Riveiro is pleased with the new acquisition but hasn’t made it clear yet whether he’ll feature on the weekend.

    "Well, I found an experienced player. Smart and professional because he is in a good fitness level and that tells me he is taking care of himself and he is ready to perform," the tactician said as per the Sowetan.

    "It takes time, of course, he just arrived a few days ago and he has few experiences with the group, with the team, and the method. So, we need to be patient. We cannot think about the past and what he did. We have to think about what he can do for us from now and to be patient and understand that he just did three training sessions."

    GOAL assesses the pros and cons of Erasmus playing against Sundowns:

  • Kermit Erasmus, Mamelodi Sundowns, April 2022

    FOR PLAYING: Point to prove

    Erasmus would have been frustrated by his lack of opportunity at Sundowns and so may feel he has a point to prove. He’ll certainly be fired up against his former team and hungry to score.

  • Kermit Erasmus of Orlando Pirates

    FOR: ‘home’ comfort

    Erasmus was popular with the fans in his first stint at Pirates and will be relishing this perhaps unexpected return. He won’t have played with any of the current crop of Bucs players but will already be feeling at home in an environment he knows well.

    So he’ll be settled and raring to go. Playing in Orlando in front of the Sea Robbers faithful will be highly inspiring.

  • Kermit Erasmus, Mamelodi Sundowns, October 2020

    AGAINST PLAYING: Lack of action

    Erasmus has not played at all this season and therefore is unlikely to be anywhere near match fit.

  • Orlando Pirates team September 2022

    AGAINST: Unsettling the squad

    Whether he plays in the starting XI or makes matchday squad, Erasmus will be taking someone else's place and will effectively be condemning someone to sit out the game entirely.

    After a busy transfer window, Pirates have quite a bit of depth now and there may already be a couple of players unhappy about not getting much action.

    For Erasmus just to come in and play without having spent long with the team may cause unease in the squad or at least with a few individuals.

  • Kermit Erasmus, Orlando Pirates, September 2022


    To play him from the start would be a bold move, and not very likely. But with none of Pirates’ strikers firing so far this season (bar the possible execption of Zakhele Lepasa) it could also potentially be a masterstroke if Riveiro gave Erasmus a real show of faith and confidence and started with him and he went on to score. He could always be subbed around the hour mark.

    Most likely we can expect to see Erasmus playing a role off the bench. Whether that’s a five-minute cameo, half an hour or maybe even longer if the match goes to extra time, will remain to be seen. It wouldn’t be surprising if Erasmus was to emerge as a match-winning sub; it’s the kind of irony which tends more often than expected to happen in sport.

    Following the cup clash, Pirates have a very heavy league fixture list and it’s more likely that one of those games will be reserved for Erasmus’ full debut for his second stint at the club.