Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro has revealed why he’s opted to start Paseka Mako over Thabiso Monyane since his return from injury.
Monyane, 22, was a regular feature since Riveiro’s appointment after being subjected to DStv Diski Challenge football for the two seasons prior to his arrival.
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He started the first game of the season against Swallows and didn’t look back as he became a mainstay in the right-wing-back role in the 3-4-3 system.
But injury and a tactical switch to a back four has now seen him lose out to Mako, which has raised questions as the left-footed play now occupies the right-back spot and captain Innocent Maela has moved from left-center-back to left-back.
“Thabiso is ready to play, he was on the bench if I’m not mistaken last two games, but we played Paseka on the right and we play him because he can play there,” Riveiro said when asked by iDiski Times about Monyane’s absence from the first XI.
“I think he’s not the first time in football history that a left-sided player plays right-back, I’m not innovating – and yeah obviously he can give us different strengths, Thabiso was playing a lot earlier in the season when we played with wing-backs.
“Thabiso and Hotto were there in positions in most games, [Bandile] Shandu then came in after injury as well. Now we’re playing in a different shape and we trying to find the players who can help us the best in every role.
“There are moments Monayne comes back from injury, it takes time sometimes to get the proper rhythm, be prepared, go full [90 minuites] and he’s a very important player for us and he will be in future a very very important player for us.
“But it’s the same like I said about the youngsters before, we need to play the players when we feel that they 100% ready to play, fighting for minutes and not just throwing them on the field and see what happens,
“That’s what we try to do and Thabiso is doing well and in the last game when we changed our shape again, his contribution on the right was crucial for us in order to open the field, to be vertical, and threaten in lateral corridors and you will see Thabiso on the field in the future.”
Pirates have a crucial six-pointer against SuperSport United on Saturday in the battle for CAF Champions League football at Orlando Stadium at 17h45.