Riveiro proud of fight against Downs, and the wind

football08 October 2023 09:59| © Mzansi Football

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro said he was proud of not only his club’s resilience in edging Mamelodi Sundowns to win Saturday’s MTN8 final but also overcoming the ferocious windy conditions.

“I feel proud of the performance of our team. It was difficult, very difficult not only because of the level of the opponent but also it was a pity for both teams that we have to fight with very difficult conditions to play football, the worst conditions that you can find to play football,” he said after Pirates held onto their MTN8 title after a penalty shootout win.

“There's nothing that can affect more the way of playing than the wind, much more than rain or whatever. It’s two different games when you're playing against the wind and then when the wind is blowing for you,” explained Riviero.

“I think neither team could manage to play consistently, the way we want to play due to that. And in the second half, we suffered a lot when we started to accumulate fatigue, the level that Sundowns have on the ball, the speed in their passing and the pressing.

“The wind didn’t allow us to do it in the air, on the grass, they were pressing very high because they know how to do it well and the wind was helping, so there were a couple of moments where we were defending to the limits and we had some luck in some certain moments.

“But we did not concede due to the exceptional job that our centre defenders did and (Sipho) Chaine as well.

“It was the kind of performance that you will not remember because of the football but you will remember in terms of fighting commitment. You need to really want it and if you want it badly enough, more than the opponent, then you are a step closer. Football is not only about possession or the number of passes, sometimes you need some other things and we did it well.”


Pirates had to overcome losing key defender Nkosinathi Sibisi to injury early on, replaced by the Nigerian Olisah Ndah, who had not been on the pitch for Pirates since February.

“That was a difficult moment," added the coach.

“It happened to him in the two previous finals also. In the Nedbank Cup final, he broke his nose.

 But Ndah was ready. We, obviously, like with many positions, had our doubts during the week, because it's been a long period for Ndah.

“He came back against (Kaizer) Chiefs but that didn't finish the way we wanted. And after that, he got injured again,” explained the coach.

“We were working a lot with him, he was working a lot to be ready for these games. Finally, he's fully fit and ready to perform. So we knew that at some point he was going to be needed in the game. But not that early!”