Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro has explained why he named Monnapule Saleng and new signing Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo in his starting XI against Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday.

The Buccaneers held the defending champions to a goalless draw at a sold out Orlando Stadium, with Saleng and Ndlondlo both impressing for the Sea Robbers.

Riveiro says that Saleng has been training well to earn his spot in the line-up.

“About Saleng, one more time, I’m not going to individualise about the players,” he said after the match.

“You can have your idea, if you take a look at our squad, you see the names, you see the capacity, the experience, the everything we have and Saleng is in the starting XI, I think it’s easy to understand how good the guy is training, performing and how much he can help us.”

The Spaniard also praised Ndlondlo for how he has adapted since joining the club on Deadline Day.

“I don’t believe in individual trophies and that kind of stuff,” he added.

“I’m happy for the boy because it’s not easy to arrive in a place like Pirates, with this level of demand – our own demand, how we demand from ourselves every day.”

He has been fantastic since he arrived and that’s the reason why we felt comfortable and confident to put him in the starting XI. I think you didn’t discover Philipp today, I think he’s a player who already proved his bio in the league and his capacity to play football.

“When you have a better structure and good players around you can even look better. The integration was very quick and that’s why we choose him in starting XI. Like I said before the game, we choose the players that we feel will help us execute the game plan and not the players we like more, we try to take what we need.”

Both teams will now face each other in the second of their semi-final on 22 October.


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