Eight officiating errors against Pirates in as many games, says Riveiro

04 April 2024 - 13:24
By Sazi Hadebe
Thabiso Lebitso of Orlando Pirates (right) clashes with Auhustine Mahlonoko of Moroka Swallows in the DStv Premiership match at Dobsonville Stadium on Wednesday night.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images Thabiso Lebitso of Orlando Pirates (right) clashes with Auhustine Mahlonoko of Moroka Swallows in the DStv Premiership match at Dobsonville Stadium on Wednesday night.

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro says the race to finish second in the DStv Premiership will still have plenty of twists and turns and be entertaining for the fans until the last day of the 2023-24 campaign.

Bucs' coach was again disappointed to see his inconsistent side drop two points in Wednesday night's 1-1 oldest Soweto derby draw against relegation-threatened Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium.

The coach would not openly criticise some of the officiating decisions in the match but expressed his belief that Bucs have had eight calls go against them in as many games.

Pirates finished the match with 10 men as defender Nkosinathi Sibisi was shown a red card for remonstrating with referee Michael Mosemeng seconds before the end of added time as tensions and frustrations ran high. 

Stellenbosch FC (38 points), Sekhukhune United (34), SuperSport United (34) and Cape Town City (33) are the teams most likely to challenge Pirates (34) for second position and a place in the Caf Champions League with runaway log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns (49).

Pirates host ninth-placed Lamontville Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (5pm). 

“We're going game by game and we know our objectives,” Riveiro said as he accepted Bucs cannot catch Sundowns.

“Running for the second position this season is going to be tough. There are different candidates in good form with ambition to win. It's going to be an entertaining fight for that position and probably the result will come in the last game, I'm sure. 

“We're going to do everything to finish in second position. We want to go to [interclub football in] Africa next season but it's [Golden] Arrows next and [we need] three points and we'll fight for it.

“It's going to be a tough game but the guys, as you can imagine, are not happy in the locker room because of many things that happened [against Swallows] tonight [Wednesday]. But they know they played the football we're looking for. With performances like these we'll get there.” 

One of those “things that happened” was the dismissal of Sibisi. Another was when the officials ruled offside when Thalente Mbatha volleyed past Daniel Alpeyi with the score at 1-1 in the 58th minute.

Riveiro said issues regarding refereeing decisions would not be resolved by discussing them in public.

“The referees are not camping with us and are not training with us during the week. Our energy must be for them [the players] to play football and for me to help to play good football.

“Luckily we have the journalists to analyse and find conclusions and to maybe put some light [on it].

“I know what happened with Sibisi but it belongs to a different space. I cannot tell you the terms of the conversations between the first official and my player. But again, it's a situation of clear disadvantage when you have a conversation with the referee because you don't decide the terms.

“It [officiating calls] is not in our control. In the past eight games we've been unlucky — it's not one or two, this is number eight.

“But we have to to concentrate because in one moment when we were not concentrating we lost one player. There's no reward for us in that space.”