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Pirates bank on Golden Arrows to do them a favour against unstoppable Stellies

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Orlando Pirates will be banking on Golden Arrows to do them a favour by taming Stellenbosch when the teams meet in the Winelands on Wednesday. But they’ll still need to do their part, and beat Cape Town City at the DHL Stadium in a late kick-off.

Jose Riveiro, head coach of Orlando Pirates. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

Mihlali Baleka

Orlando Pirates’ bid to finish second in the DStv Premiership is out of their hands, but coach Jose Riveiro has urged his charges to control what they can.

Pirates will fly down to Cape Town on Wednesday night, visiting Cape Town City in the league, hoping to continue their purple patch. The Buccaneers are on a high as they’ve won their past four games – three in the league and one in the Nedbank Cup – during the season’s run-in.

But while they’ve been winning games for fun, including hammering Royal AM 4-0 in the league on Sunday, their top-two aspirations are hanging by thread. The Sea Robbers are third in the league and three points behind second-placed Stellenbosch, while both teams have played 25 games each so far.

That’s why Pirates will be banking on Golden Arrows to do them a favour by taming Stellenbosch when the teams meet in the Winelands on Wednesday. But they’ll still need to do their part, and beat City at the DHL Stadium in a late kick-off.

“Our obligation is to win each and every game until the end. That’s why we are putting the focus on ourselves,” Riveiro said, after their win over Royal AM.

“There’s nothing that we can do with our (direct) opponents (for the second-place finish) – they must play their own games. We try to control our next opponents.

“We’ll travel to Cape Town to face Cape Town City on Wednesday. It’s key to collect another win.”

Stellenbosch might be enjoying an unbeaten run of 25 games in all competitions, but they’ve had to largely depend on striker Iqraam Rayners.

He almost single-handedly guided Stellies to a 5-0 victory over Polokwane City on Saturday, scoring all five goals as he climbed to the top of the scoring charts (13) in the league.

Pirates, meanwhile, have worked together as a unit with Relebohile Mofokeng, Patrick Maswanganyi, Tshegofatso Mabasa and Monnapule Saleng chipping in with the goals.

Riveiro has been pleased with the way his front four have shared the workload, saying that their game plan is paying off.

“We have a lot of talent in the team and the front four are no exception. Right now we are in a situation where the ball is finishing in the back of the net,” Riveiro said.

“Early in the season, I think we managed to play better games than now, but we didn’t manage to score a single goal. We are confident when we are in the last metres. But in the end, it’s about the team, the 11 on the field, structure, and the football we believe in.

“When we are in that structure, I think individual talents can shine. I am so happy for all of them. They are young players and excellent human beings.”

One of the individuals that has shone at Pirates this season is Maswanganyi, who has been touted as a candidate for the PSL Footballer of the Season award. Maswanganyi has been an instant fit in Riveiro’s plan, and he’s a fan favourite.

“I think people love him. So, who am I to say who people should love or identify as their player of the season?” Riveiro asked.

“I think South African football fans have a good taste in football. They know the football that they want to see.

“In the end, I think it’s important that the team is getting good performances so that individuals can shine. He’s a clear candidate, but let’s see.”

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