The Orlando Pirates’ impressive streak is fueled by Zakhele Lepasa’s comeback, with Riveiro revealing the catalyst for his exceptional performance.
Lepasa has distinguished himself early on for Orlando Pirates in the 2023–24 season, excelling strongly. The Soweto-born striker has produced an astounding nine goals in just seven games, even making an impact in the CAF Champions League, out of the team’s 16 goals across multiple competitions.
His most recent display of excellence came during the DStv Premiership match between Cape Town City and the Orlando Stadium Buccaneers, which the Buccaneers won 2-0.
In the ninth minute, Lepasa scored the game’s first goal with a beautiful strike, proving his talent. He took a position at the edge of the area, made a beautiful turn, and then found the top corner of the net. Patrick Maswanganyi, who is also in outstanding form, added to the win by scoring a goal in the second half to decide the fate of the contest.
With the victory, Orlando Pirates improved to fourth place in the standings after four league games and two victories. Despite playing one more game than them, they are seven points behind the league’s champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Zakhele Lepasa’s deadly goal-scoring form, according to Riveiro, is due to both his ability to position himself in the proper scoring locations where his colleagues can find him and the number of opportunities the midfielders create.
“We need to make sure that our forwards, the number 9s, our 10s and wingers and the ones who are coming from the second line have chances [to score],” said Riveiro.
“So we try to generate as many chances as possible. That’s our obsession to spend as much time as possible in the half of the opponent. Today [last night], it was tough to do that because of the way that Cape Town [City] was pressing.
“And if we are capable of having the team [Pirates] play close to the goal for long periods with the quality that we have in front, it is going to work for us, and that is what is happening; the forwards are scoring.”
Lepasa, a Bafana Bafana international, is reportedly looking good and feeling more confident, according to the Pirates strategist.
Lepasa’s skill was undeniable, but injuries hindered his development while wearing the Pirates’ jersey.
In order to play more games, the 26-year-old was loaned out to SuperSport United last year. Lepasa is currently establishing himself as Riveiro’s go-to goal scorer.
“The striker also needed to have confidence. You can see that he is in a good space, and we just have to try and continue with that [creating chances],” added Riveiro.
“That is why the forward [Lepasa] is scoring, and that is why maybe the goals this season are a bit more spread within the group even though Zakes is in a very good moment of form.
“Whoever is playing there [forward position], whether it is Zakes or somebody else, they are lucky. If you see the players that are playing behind them, I think they [strikers] will have a lot of fun.”