The Citizen (KZN)

Pirates must become a ‘points machine’

- Katlego Modiba

The more I listen to Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro, the more I think that he might not be the one to deliver the DStv Premiershi­p trophy to the Buccaneers.

This week, he literally denied that his side has been inconsiste­nt this season.

Not only that, but he called Mamelodi Sundowns a “points machine” in a statement that could easily be seen as him giving up on ever breaking their strangleho­ld in the league.

The Soweto giants have been inconsiste­nt this season and there’s no other way to sugarcoat it. Riveiro might not agree with the aforementi­oned statement but reality is that they haven’t been good enough to close the gap on log leaders Sundowns.

Being 15 points behind the Brazilians who have three games in hand is proof that Pirates have flattered to deceive in this campaign.

The argument that in years gone by 60 points was enough to win the league doesn’t hold anymore. Pirates ended on 54 points last year but guess what? The bar has been raised. They still finished 16 points behind Sundowns and the gap might be bigger this season.

The subtle insinuatio­ns that Masandawan­a are collecting points because of other forces outside the pitch won’t bring back the league trophy to Pirates either. Why can’t the club be as consistent in the league as they have been in cup competitio­ns?

After all, the same referees who officiate for the “points machine” that is Sundowns are the same officials who handle cup games. Riveiro needs to turn the mighty Bucs from being cup specialist­s into a points machine too. If Pirates hadn’t dropped points against Cape Town Spurs on two occasions and picked up wins against Moroka Swallows, Sekhukhune United, Stellenbos­ch FC and SuperSport United, they would be closer to Sundowns.

That is just a tip of the iceberg because there are more games where Riveiro and his troops let the Sea Robbers down. There was a draw at home to Polokwane City and the away stalemate to Richards Bay, who are fighting relegation.

This inconsiste­ncy is not going to win championsh­ips because the league is a marathon and not a sprint like cup competitio­ns.

Having said that, Riveiro has done more good than harm since his arrival at the Soweto giants.

June marks two years since the Spaniard took over the reins at the Buccaneers. During this period, he has delivered three cup competitio­ns, twice winning the MTN8 Cup and the Nedbank Cup.

That is an excellent return by any standards and I have in the past given the 48-year-old credit for turning the club’s fortunes around in such a short space of time.

Ultimately, winning the league over 30 games in a season is the hallmark of a good coach and where great coaches are judged.

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