Michaelson Ntokozo Gumede

By Ntokozo Gumede


Pirates’ Saleng needs to remain humble, Riveiro insists

'There are players that are more attractive to the fans, especially players like Saleng,' says Riveiro.

It goes without saying that Monnapule Saleng is Orlando Pirates fans’ favourite player right now

The 24-year-old attacking wizard’s star continues to rise after he scored a brace in the Buccaneers’ 3-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday at the Peter Mokana Stadium, as they reached the MTN8 final.

Pirates kicked out the defending champions, with Saleng contributing to all three goals as he provided the assist to Kermit Erasmus’ opener. Jose Riveiro is not a big fan of singling out individuals and he has told Saleng to keep his feet on the ground.

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“I don’t like to individualize situations because they are part of one structure and have different responsibilities. I will never put the spotlight on one player. There are players that are more attractive to the fans, especially players like Saleng,” said Riveiro

“He is doing well week-in, week-out and the key for us and him is to stay humble. This is just one game that has given us the right to be in one final and that’s it. From there we start again with all of the players – the best ones in the game against Sundowns and the ones who did not play – we go together.”

The Sea Robbers’ next assignment is the biggest match on the South African football calendar, the Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs, with the DStv Premiership clash set for Saturday. The Spanish mentor is pleased that his side will go into the derby against Chiefs with tails up.

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“We are a team that fights together, the unity is top and we are looking for high standards everyday and sometimes we get the results like in this game and sometimes we don’t then everybody thinks we are not good enough. But that is football for you,” said Riveiro.

“It was never a perfect performance but we did everything that the game was asking from us in 90 minutes. It was an outstanding performance from the guys, the way they prepared their minds to play this game was superb and I am a very proud coach. It is nice to win and go through in a competition like this ahead of a big game (against Chiefs). It helps in the mental side and it lifts the mood.”

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