Jose Riveiro says it’s important for Bucs to win the Nedbank Cup as their chances of overtaking Mamelodi Sundowns to win the league are all but impossible.

The Brazilians are a massive 13 points clear at the top of the standings, ahead of second-placed Stellenbosch, with two games in hand, and 15 points better off than Bucs, who currently occupy third place – and who have played three games more.

The last time Sundowns failed to win the South African top flight was in the 2016/17 season when the defunct Bidvest Wits claimed top spot, under Gavin Hunt.

Four-time league winners Pirates last won the league in the 2011/12 campaign, when they finished ahead of Moroka Swallows, SuperSport United – and with Downs coming in, in fourth place.

Riveiro’s side take on AmaZulu in the last eight of this season’s Nedbank Cup while Downs play the University of Pretoria.

Ahead of this weekend’s knockout games, the Bucs boss said in the Sowetan: “[Winning the Nedbank Cup] is very important because it is a South African cup. The Nedbank Cup is an important trophy and every team who participates in the competition wants to go to the final at least.

“This cup is very important to everyone at the club…the players, the coaching staff. We are all focused on this tournament and we will try again [to retain it].”

Riveiro added: “We can still talk about consistency [of Pirates] until the end of our lives but that’s not the only thing to talk about. We see the top of the log…you are competing against a point machine right now, a team that didn’t lose even one game in the last 40-something games.

“You want to go to the past, we can to go to the previous season also [where] we got 54 points. Usually, you win the title in SA with 60, right? Probably you [media] know better than myself, so we got 54 but again we are competing with a point machine…they don’t lose.

“Probably we are going to pass that number [54] this season. You can analyse the reasons why [Sundowns hardly lose], it’s part of your business…we are trying but it’s difficult to get close for many, many different reasons but we are getting there.”