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Riveiro Talks Strikers Prospects - Pirates Coach Hails Mabasa

Last updated: 13 Apr 2024
John Eastwood 13 Apr 2024
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  • Orlando Pirates Coach Has Praised top scorer Tshegofatso Mabasa
  • Jose Riveiro refuses blame for loaning out Mabasa
  • The Spanish coach explained the continued omission of striker Zakhele Lepasa
mabasa pirates

Mabasa Grabs Opportunity

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro says a proper run in the team is the reason for Tshegofatso Mabasa’s impressive scoring form of late.
  • Mabasa Grabs Opportunity
  • Riveiro Refutes Wrongdoing
  • Lepasa Omission Explained

The 27-year-old scored a first career hattrick as Pirates thrashed Golden Arrows 7-1 last week. It took the Bafana Bafana international to the top of the Golden Boot race alongside Lucas Ribeiro of Mamelodi Sundowns. 

Mabasa had been loaned to Sekhukhune United for the 2022-23 season and Moroka Swallows for this season. He was recalled in January and has five goals for Pirates already. 

Jose Riveiro explained the reason for the striker’s form: “Like every other player, confidence and continuity it is key to performing. 

“Sometimes we’re not fair when we give one game in isolation, it’s not going to tell you the truth about the player. If you’re playing regularly, it means that confidence is in you.

“Again, confidence and continuity, having the opportunity to repeatedly be in the starting eleven.”

Mabasa has 13 goals and two assists in 23 acress across all competitions this season for Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates respectively.

Riveiro Refutes Wrongdoing

Pirates’ coach says the perceived mistake to loan out Tshegofatso Mabasa for 18 months should not fall on his shoulders. 

The Spaniard said: “I have to tell the truth. When I arrived at Pirates, Tshego was not with us, this is my first time with Tshego. 

"We had eight number nines when I put my foot in the training ground at Pirates, Tshego was not one of them.

“The reasons, I can’t really tell you. But probably related to his performances, for whatever reason. Or because in that moment some others were performing better, I don’t really know.

The three-time cup-winning coach has speculated that the player may have asked for a temporary move.

“I don’t really know if he was in a different space or if he was asking for a loan or maybe at the time at Pirates was difficult for whatever reason. What I know is that he’s back, he’s performing at a really good level.

“The reasons why he couldn’t make it before? It’s a good question, but I’m wrong person.”

Lepasa Omission Explained

Whilst Tshegofatso Mabasa is thriving, Zakhele Lepasa is struggling for minutes. Despite appearing in all seven matches for South Africa at the Africa Cup of Nations, he can’t get a start at club level. 

After 10 goals in the early months of the season, Lepasa’s last Pirates start was in October. First, Evidence Makgopa and then Mabasa has jumped ahead in the striker pecking order.

Jose Riveiro said: “You are right, he was scoring. But, we play with one striker or one number nine. 

“He is not in the space for a considerable amount of minutes. He is training well, he is fighting.

“He is trying to understand what we want from him and other players in that position.”

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