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Jose Riveiro explains Monnapule Saleng’s earlier struggles

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro addressed Monnapule Saleng’s recent struggles after the winger’s impressive brace in their 3-2 win over Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto Derby.

Saleng silenced doubters with a brace in Pirates’ thrilling Soweto derby victory over their crosstown rivals, Chiefs.

He was key as Pirates came back from behind twice to bag maximum points and move to second place on the DStv Premiership table. However, his performance came on the back of a period of inconsistency, prompting the Pirates coach to address his recent struggles.

The reigning PSL Players’ Player of the Season has been a pale shadow of himself. He was even benched for several matches.

Riveiro acknowledged Saleng has not had “the best first half of the season” but offered reasons without elaborating. “[There were] multiple reasons we cannot discuss in this space,” said Riveiro.

The coach highlighted Saleng’s hard work during the AFCON break pre-season training and his decent performance against Mamelodi Sundowns. However, a bout of flu recently disrupted Saleng’s momentum.

Jose Riveiro and Monnapule Saleng of Orlando-Pirates
Jose Riveiro and Monnapule Saleng

Riveiro explained: “We couldn’t have continuity with him for something simple like flu that separated him from the team.” He added that Saleng wasn’t included in the 6-0 win against Crystal Lake in the Nedbank Cup round of 32 to give opportunities to other players.

His double against Amakhosi takes his tally for the season to four goals in 19 outings for the Buccaneers. Saleng has played 13 games in the league, with four appearances in the MTN8 and one in the Carling Knockout Cup and CAF Champions League.


His inconsistency saw him miss out on a place in the AFCON squad that participated in Ivory Coast 2023. He was also not named in the 32-member preliminary squad for the FIFA Series International friendlies in Algeria later this month.

Looking forward, the Spaniard assured unwavering support for Saleng. “He’s not a forgotten player, that’s for sure. You saw him today. He needs our support to be the Saleng we saw last season.”

Saleng’s resurgence against Kaizer Chiefs suggests he’s back on track. He will be looking to build on that performance to get back to his best.

RELATED STORY: Riveiro speaks on the difficulty of managing off-form Lepasa and Saleng

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