- Riveiro is looking forward to a good test from PSL leaders Sundowns
- Pirates coach keen to see how far his side are from Masandawana
- Bucs are on a three-match winning run while Sundowns have won 14
WHAT HAPPENED? Riveiro feels his charges are on the right track having won three straight games but wants to know how much they have improved in recent weeks by testing themselves against Sundowns, who have put together 14 wins on the bounce, heading into Saturday’s game.
Pirates have scored nine goals while conceding two in their victories over Golden Arrows, Stellenbosch and Marumo Gallants to move to fourth on the table on 28 points but they are still 24 behind Sundowns who have played two games more.
With the PSL title out of reach, Riveiro still wants to go toe-to-toe with the Brazilians to see if they are closing the gap.
WHAT DID HE SAY? “We’re two teams in a good moment in terms of results,” Riveiro said during his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“You don’t win 13 or even three games in a row if you’re not doing the things well so it will be a good test for both and one of us will not be happy at the end of the game because we are not teams that play for draws.
“These types of games help both teams to improve, to see if you are going in the right direction. To see soon or later if you will be where you want to be as a team, I think from our perspective, because the level of the challenge will be very good, very high.
“When you play against a good team you have the chance not only for the result, which is mandatory for us, but also to improve. We cannot repeat the mistakes we made in previous games otherwise we will get punished. So, we need to learn from those games and try to be better than them [Sundowns] on Saturday.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pirates have already played Sundowns twice this season when they faced each other in the two-legged MTN8 semi-final with Riveiro’s side thrashing Masandawana 3-0 in the second leg en route to claiming the title.
The Buccaneers will perhaps draw inspiration from that match as they take on Rhulani Mokwema’s side who have looked unbeatable in 2022-23.
WHAT’S MORE? Riveiro also explained the ‘headache’ he has selected a starting XI from his big squad.
“I’m a lucky coach with big squad full of talent and possibilities. The players are not machines, they are going through different levels of confidence and fitness and it is our responsibility to detect those moments in our players,” he added.
“When we gave Monnapule [Saleng] the chance to come in [the squad] it was not like we threw a coin and saw what happened, we knew that the boy was ready and with Terrence [Dzvukamanja] it is the same, he is doing the things well like everybody else. It is difficult to select 11 players in this moment to start the game.”
WHAT’S NEXT? Pirates will hope to end Sundowns’ great run while making it four straight victories for the first time this season, in Saturday’s encounter.