Orlando Pirates are set to jet off to Spain for their pre-season tour next month, and it is clear that they won’t just be doing training drills there.
While Pirates prepare to play against the best South Africa has to offer, it is clear that they will aim to test themselves against some of the best in the world.
Pirates ended the 2022/23 local football season with two of the three pieces of domestic silverware available, and soon it will be time for the Buccaneers to go again.
One man who will be pleased with the effort of this players is coach Jose Riveiro.
The Spanish tactician took over at the start of the season, amid countless critics from members of the media and journalists alike, upon his arrival.
But in the end, it was he who would have the last laugh, crowing his debut season in South Africa with two trophies as well as leading Pirates back into CAF Champions League football, by guiding them to a second place finish on the log.
The Buccaneers, however, through both coach and players have made it very clear that they were not satisfied with winning just the cups, and that they should be challenging Mamelodi Sundowns for the DStv Premiership title.
Those sentiments, echoing those of Pirates legend Benni McCarthy, who has also set higher objectives for a side he helped win a double treble with.
Now, on paper, with two trophies Pirates were not far off from repeating the feat of a treble, but in reality, the gap between them and Sundowns was extremely evident.
Now, with the Soweto giants set to embark on a 2023/24 season which will see them competing in five fronts, preparation and squad management will be key. That is why the pre-season will be vital for Riveiro to assess the squad that he has at his disposal.
It is perhaps for this reason that Israeli giants and Uefa Champions League pedigree outfit Maccabi Tel Aviv have announced that they will be playing Pirates in Spain.
Tel Aviv are the biggest and most successful team in Israel having won as many as 24 times. According to their website, they’re set to take on the Buccaneers on the 13th of July in Marbella.
Tel Aviv have twice qualified for the group stages of the Uefa Champions League before playing in the Uefa Europa League in the 2021/22 season. They are sure to provide a stern test for Pirates.