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Pirates coach Jose Riveiro accused of using shocking and abusive language 

Chippa United co-coach Kwanele Kopo has accused Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro of using shocking and abusive language during the highly-contested Nedbank Cup semi-final.

In the aftermath of the heated match, Kopo claimed Riveiro disrespected Chippa players and staff with shockingly abusive language.

Pirates emerged 3-1 winners at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to book a place in the final of the Nedbank Cup. The Buccaneers will defend their cup against Sunday’s winner between Mamelodi Sundowns and Stellenbosch FC at the Mbombela Stadium on 1 June 2024.

“I have a lot of respect for Orlando Pirates, but the language used towards us by the coach today was shocking, absolutely shocking,” an incensed Kopo told SuperSport in a post-match interview. 

“I know Pirates wanted to defend the trophy and I respect the club, I respect the officials of the club. But I think people can present themselves better,” Kopo stated.


Kopo believes Riveiro’s alleged misconduct from the sidelines directly contributed to former Pirates striker Bienvenu Eva Nga’s red card late in the match. He expressed disappointment in Riveiro’s behaviour and called for greater professionalism.

Kwanele Kopo of Chippa United addressing SuperSport TV after a game
Kwanele Kopo

“Not needed in football. [He] can’t even look me in the eye after the game, or shake a hand. He was inciting Eva [Nga] the whole game, that’s why Eva got sent off.”

However, amidst the controversy, Kopo reserved praise for Pirates assistant coach Mandla Ncikazi. “Coach Mandla, I want to compliment him. When everybody else was abusing us, he was the one combatant who came to apologise to us. Big up to coach Mandla for that,” he added, acknowledging Ncikazi’s attempt to diffuse the situation.

He highlighted racial undercurrents during their recent match. “We are all coaches, we know when people are under pressure. But we don’t want to say certain things because we want to be looked bad at. It’s not nice,” said Kopo.

The Chippa coach went further, connecting the incident to his own experiences during difficult times in South Africa’s past. “Some of us grew up in a difficult time in South Africa, and when you consistently use a second language towards us, it riles us up. That’s the disappointing part for me,” he added.

“And that’s what makes us angry, even for the referees that when people of a certain colour or language are abusive, it seems like it’s acceptable in South Africa and I think we need to overcome that.”

Despite the controversy, Kopo praised Chippa United and its chairman for their support, as well as the crowd for enjoying what he deemed “a good spectacle.”

RELATED STORY: ‘We don’t give him his flowers’: Jose Riveiro on unsung Orlando Pirates star

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