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Jose Riveiro addresses difficult situation at right-back for Pirates

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has acknowledged the challenges his team is facing at right-back, outlining the difficulties in finding a consistent solution.

While Pirates boast quality right fullbacks in Thabiso Monyane and Bandile Shandu, both players have faced challenges staying fit due to recent injuries.

Last season, Riveiro had to deploy Paseka Mako, a natural left fullback, on the right side. Earlier in the season, attacker Fortune Makaringe was used as a right-back in some of the matches, and he gave his utmost best.

In an attempt to try to solve the problem, The Sea Robbers acquired the services of Thabiso Lebitso from Chippa United in the PSL January transfer window. He’s a versatile right-footed player who can play in attack and also at the back.

The Spaniard says the right fullback situation is not a problem. But admits it’s been a headache, leading them to find solutions every time.


Thabiso Lebitso celebrates a goal for Orlando Pirates in the DStv Premiership
Thabiso Lebitso celebrates a goal for Orlando Pirates. Picture by Orlando Pirates

“It’s not really a problem, but for many reasons, it’s true that it’s been a headache for us,” said Riveiro.

“Even last season, we played Paseka Mako as a right-fullback almost the second half of the season completely.

“So it’s forcing us to look for positions. We were very unfortunate with Bandile [Shandu] and Thabiso [Monyane] in that position. There were only a few times last season when both were fit at the same time.

“It’s one of the positions that we used to use one of the subs also, for many reasons. So it’s not problematic, but it’s true that we’re permanently, unfortunately, looking for different solutions.”

Riveiro further stated that they brought in Lebitso to ease the crisis, and he strongly believes the 32-year-old has what it takes to excel.

“When [Thabiso] Lebitso came to the squad, he also prevented that situation. We knew that Thabiso could help us in that role; he could do it.

“It’s not that he has played 100 games in PSL. But we know he has the capacity to do it, especially depending on the game, the way that we build up, and when our fullbacks, at least one of them, is not really a fullback. So he can cope well in that role. I think the club did a fantastic job recruiting him,” he added.

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