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Riveiro: Why Saleng Started Instead of Mofokeng

  • June 2, 2024
  • 3 min read
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Riveiro: Why Saleng Started Instead of Mofokeng

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has justified his decision to start Monnapule Saleng in the Nedbank Cup final triumph against Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday, despite Saleng’s inconsistent form this season.

Saleng, who struggled to replicate his stellar performance from last season, ended up playing a crucial role in the final. In the dying minutes, he was involved in the winning goal scored by Relebohile Mofokeng. Mofokeng nutmegged Bongani Zungu before poking the ball past Ronwen Williams for a dramatic victory.

This mirrored Saleng’s performance in last year’s Nedbank Cup final, where he set up Terrence Dzvukamanja for a late winner at Loftus Stadium.

Riveiro explained that Saleng’s selection was based on more than just his past achievements. He highlighted Saleng’s contribution in the final league match of the season against SuperSport United, where he created the goal for Tshegofatso Mabasa in a 1-1 draw at Orlando Stadium.

“He gave us an assist. He was ready and they were period you think this season the boy wasn’t ready for several reasons and that is why he was not as regular as one year ago. 

“And again, on Saturday. I mean, it is a special game, it’s a final, it’s Mamelodi Sundowns. Like I explained many times during these two years that it is one of the teams or a team that you have consider modifying some certain things in your own organization and approach to the game because this team is not a joke. 

“We are talking about the best team in the continent in terms of the way they play, the level of the players, how competitive they are.”  

Saleng also scored twice in the MTN8 second leg semifinal last season where Pirates destroyed Sundowns in Polokwane by 3-0, with Saleng netting the brace. They went all the way to beat AmaZulu to win the Wafa Wafa Cup.  

“We know that Monnapule in these types of games he can give you something extra, he is a threat,” he said. 

“We expected Aubrey Modiba to be there, dealing with him. We don’t wake up in the morning to say let’s go with Saleng.  

“There are a lot of things behind it when you must leave players and play someone else, that is the reason why he started. 

“Sometimes it goes well, and the coach is so good, sometimes it is an opposite.” 

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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