I am not here to bring Spanish players, explains Bucs coach

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has responded to the probing question on whether he has a say on the signing and release of players at the club.

Riveiro joined the Buccaneers in June 2022 and has since become a breath of fresh air in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

In his first season, he won the MTN8 and the Nedbank Cup.

This season, Riveiro was able to defend the Wafa Wafa Cup competition and is on course to defend the Nedbank Cup after beating AmaZulu 4-2 at the weekend to book a spot in the semi-finals.

Speculation swells

Despite his impressive performance, questions about whether the Spaniard has any control over who joins and leaves his team cast doubt on Riveiro’s position regarding acquisitions.

A typical example is that of Thembinkosi Lorch, who made a surprise switch to Mamelodi Sundowns despite being one of his best players.

Though, in hindsight, many players have been integrated well in the Pirates project – such as Relebohile Mofokeng, Patrick Maswanganyi, Evidence Makgopa and currently Tshegofatso Mabasa – who returned from a loan spell that he went to when Riveiro joined the Sea Robbers.

In a recent interview with the media, Riveiro revealed that, despite being a minor contributor to the Pirates project and not being needed in the player signing department, he has never been tempted to bring in players he has previously worked with in Spain.

The club is bigger than me

“It used to be like that [with coaches signing their own players]. But football now is different in terms of our responsibilities as coaches,” Riveiro said.

“The club is much bigger than me. My club, the Orlando Pirates, doesn’t need me in that department [of signing players]. I am running a club’s project; it’s not Riveiro’s project.

“I am just one piece of that project. There’s much more around me. I am not here to bring Spanish players; I am here to do something more important.”

The 48-year-old quickly backtracked from his submission after Sunday World followed up on his somewhat implied statement that he lacks the authority to decide which players come in and out of the club.

“The project is much bigger. There’s no improvising, saying: ‘I think you need this guy from Spain; he’s a good boy and a left-footer’.

“No. We are not about that. The club knows where it needs to go. I am part of that. The club is not waiting for me to say: ‘This is what you need; I’ll do it for you’.”

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