Pirates Reveal Plans To Keep Up With Chiefs & Sundowns Academy Success

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Jose Riveiro, coach of Orlando Pirates, during the DStv Premiership 2022/23 game between Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates at Cape Town Stadium on 7 January 2023
Jose Riveiro, coach of Orlando Pirates, during the DStv Premiership 2022/23 game between Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates at Cape Town Stadium on 7 January 2023

Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro has revealed plans to integrate academy graduates into the first team after a long absence of youngsters in the senior setup.

Apart from goalkeeper Kopano Thuntsane, Pirates have not had academy graduates featuring prominently in the first team since Thabiso Monyane was promoted nearly four years ago.

Read: Pirates Eye Up Swallows Winger?

In comparison, rival clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns have tapped into their academies for talent, particularly Chiefs, who recently have 19-year old Mduduzi Shabalala staking a claim in the line-up, with the likes of Wandile Duba and Samkelo Zwane in the fringes of the first team.

Sundowns have had instant success with the transition of Cassius Mailula, who only got promoted at the beginning of the season and is already in the talk for Player of the Season awards.

Pirates had DStv Diski Challenge defender and captain Ndumiso Ngiba on the bench in their 4-1 win over Swallows last Friday and Riveiro says processes are underway to blood some academy graduates into the first team.

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"Obviously our academy is part of the future of the club and it's our responsibility also in the first team to make sure that we make good use of our talent, because there's talent," Riveiro told the media in a press conference.

"I think we have an important role in the preparation for professional football and for the future and the communication with the development (team) at Pirates is very good," he said.

"We're trying to know as much as possible about our talented players because, sooner or later, obviously not all of them, because it's not possible but hopefully as much as possible can be part of the first team in the future, so we need to do the work in advance," he added.

Pirates promoted defender Thabiso Sesane in 2020 but he was loaned out to Jomo Cosmos last season and he is currently out on loan again at Motsepe Foundation Championship side All Stars and was in the team that lost against the Buccaneers in the Nedbank Cup last 32. 

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