Riveiro: Orlando Pirates appoint Spaniard as head coach, Ncikazi demoted

Jose Riveiro, Orlando Pirates, June 2022https://twitter.com/orlandopirates

Orlando Pirates have appointed Jose Riveiro as their new head coach.

The Spaniard joins the Soweto giants on a three-year deal and replaces the set-up of Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids as interim co-coaches.

Davids has since left Pirates while Ncikazi will be Riveiro’s assistant coach.

Riveiro arrives at Pirates with compatriot Sergio Almenara as his other assistant coach while former Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Tyron Damons will be the goalkeeper coach and Miguel Bellver Esteve comes in as the new fitness trainer.

“First of all, I would like to send a greeting to all the fans of Orlando Pirates,” Riveiro told Pirates' website.

“I am delighted to have joined the club. The Pirates project is an exciting one and I look forward to what lies ahead. It is an honour for me and my colleagues to have the responsibility to coach such an institution and compete for the highest goals.

“Along with my support team, we are looking forward to arriving and joining the task force and the group of players to start working immediately. We are going to work to make history together and build a team that we are all proud of.”

Riveiro’s last job was head coach of Finnish side FC Inter Turku where Almenara and Esteve were part of his backroom staff.

He has been working in Finland since 2014 and the Pirates job is his first in Africa, where he is little known.

Riveiro takes over at Pirates with the club having already made six new signings in defender Nkosinathi Sibisi and Tapelo Xoki as well as forwards Evidence Makgopa and Bienvenue Eva Nga.

They have also signed midfielder Miguel Timm and teenager Azola Matrose.

Having ushered in the new players, Pirates have offloaded Thulani Hlatshwayo, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Frank Mhango, Thabang Monare, Kwanda Mngonyama, Abel Mabaso, Justice Chabalala, Elson Sithole and goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands.

The club had indicated Sandilands is “currently in discussions with management regarding another role at the club.”

Following the departure of Sjoerd Woudenberg on Thursday, Sandilands was expected to be appointed goalkeeper coach until the arrival of Damons.

Riveiro takes over the responsibility of guiding Pirates to a first league title since the 2011/12 season as well as helping them win a first continental trophy since 1996.

Riveiro the right man for Pirates?

Will Riveiro deliver success to Pirates or will he be another high-profile flop?