Orlando Pirates’ CAF Champions League lesson

Orlando Pirates manager Jose Riveiro found himself caught between a rock and a hard place when asked about the lessons he learned from the team’s journey in the CAF Champions League.

After securing two titles, the MTN8 and the Nedbank Cup, in his debut season, the stakes were high for the Sea Robbers in their quest to conquer Africa’s premier football competition.

However, their aspirations came crashing down in the second preliminary round when they faced off against Jwaneng Galaxy. Despite a hard-fought battle that ended in a 1-1 aggregate score across two legs, the Buccaneers ultimately succumbed to a 5-4 defeat in a penalty shootout.

During the post-match press conference, Riveiro’s responses were enigmatic and filled with caution. When probed about the lessons he took away from the competition, he hinted at the challenges he faced without divulging specifics.

“If I say what I learned, I will get suspended, probably. So, I will try to keep quiet,” the Spaniard responded, leaving the gathered journalists hanging on his words.

“Like I used to say, that’s part of your (journalist) role. It’s part of your role to talk about the truth of things and to do a deeper analysis about a lot of things that happen during the games, but you will not do it, and I will not do it as well.”

He went on to shed some light on the arduous nature of the CAF Champions League. “It is a difficult competition, let’s put it that way. I learned that it is a difficult competition. There are a lot of things that we are supposed to control as a coach and football players. But it is difficult, let’s leave it there. It is complicated.”

As the Sea Robbers regroup and reflect on their continental adventure, their focus now shifts to the upcoming MTN8 Final.

They are set to face Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday, October 7th, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. This high-stakes encounter offers Orlando Pirates an opportunity to regain their momentum and continue their quest for glory in domestic competitions.