- Riveiro was in his first season at Pirates
- It was also his first job in Africa
- Saleng comments on coach's maiden season in Africa
WHAT HAPPENED? Riveiro was appointed as Buccaneers coach in June 2022 and arrived in South Africa as an unknown figure. It was his first-ever job in Africa after stints in his homeland and Finland. There were doubts about Riveiro with some fans calling him a plumber.
Riveiro ended up guiding Pirates to the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup as well as finishing the campaign as PSL runners-up to champions Mamelodi Sundowns. But Saleng says it was not easy for the coach to adapt to the PSL which was a new working environment for him.
WHAT SALENG SAID: “I want to thank the coach in his first season, yes he struggled to adapt in the PSL, but he was patient with us until we adapted to his style and the way he wanted us to play,” said Saleng as per iDiski Times.
“So I’m so happy for him and happy for the chairman Irvin Khoza for believing in me and senior players helped me to push me and see the potential.
“I pushed myself because I did extra training sessions and I think that helped for my season because since I’m playing, it has been the whole season non-stop.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Riveiro thrived where Josef Zinnbauer failed under similar circumstances. The Spaniard was Pirates’ first head coach since Zinnbauer left the club in the hands of co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids.
Just like Riveiro, the German had also arrived in South Africa to take up his first-ever job on the continent. Zinnbauer only won the MTN8 but Riveiro went further to claim the biggest knockout competition in the land.
It was a memorable season for the former Celta Vigo youth, who also has high praise for Saleng.
STORY IN TWO PICTURES:BackpageBackpage
WHAT NEXT FOR RIVEIRO AND SALENG? After ending the season on a high with a cup double and Champions League qualification, more will be expected from Riveiro as well as Saleng, who was in top form all season.