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Why Orlando Pirates will win the DStv Premiership in 2022-23

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro and captain Innocent Maela.
Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro and captain Innocent Maela.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates have been a huge disappointment over the past few seasons, but it would be very dangerous to rule them out of the DStv Premiership title in 2022/2023 season.

In the past few seasons, Pirates have had probably one of the best squads in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), but they failed to challenge Mamelodi Sundowns for the Premiership title.

Pirates will head into the new season with a solid team after they were bolstered with good players such as Tapelo Xoki, Nkosinathi Sibisi Evidence Makgopa, Bienvenu Eva Nga and Miguel Timm.

They managed to hold on to their best players such as Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule, Richard Ofori, Deon Hotto, Olisa Ndah, Thabang Monare, Kwame Peprah and others to ensure they are not starting everything from scratch.

Lorch showed great form towards the end of the last season, and everyone knows if he is fit and raring to go Pirates is almost unstoppable.

Coaching has been identified as the key problem behind their failure to deliver success and there are hopes the arrival of Spaniard Jose Riveiro would put an end to that crisis.

Things were promising under former coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic, but he tendered his resignation just after three matches into the 2019/2020 season.

Under Micho Pirates played good football and ended as runners up to Masandawana for two seasons in a row.

The Serbian was replaced by German-born coach Josef Zinnbauer, who won the MTN8 title in 2020, but also left without helping the Buccaneers to the all-important league title.

Things grew worse under interim co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids as they finished the season in position six, though they were runners-up in the Caf Confederation Cup.

Davids admitted co-coaching at Pirates didn’t work.

The good thing this season is that Pirates moved away from co-coaching and appointed a leader in Riveiro, who didn’t do badly in his previous stint in Finland where he was in charge of FC Inter Turku.

In his first season there, Riveiro guided Inter to second position in Finland’s top tier.

While Riveiro is unknown, he has Ncikazi as one of his assistant coaches.

From his interactions with the media, Riveiro seems like a man who knows his stuff.

Bucs players new skipper Innocent Maela and Vincent Pule have heaped praise on the Spaniard's way of doing things and his football philosophy.

Riveiro's mission will start with a home game against Swallows FC at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (3pm).


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