Orlando Pirates announced the appointment of Jose Riviero on a three-year deal on Sunday, seeing Mandla Ncikazi demoted.
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Ncikazi had been elevated to a co-coach alongside the now departed Fadlu Davids before the arrival of Riviero.
Coaches linked to Pirates
Since the conclusion of the previous season, there have been a few coaches who had been linked with the Pirates coaching job. Names such as former striker and AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy as well as well as another former forward Pitso Mosimane who has just recently parted ways with former employers Al Ahly.
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The rumours got less intense recently, however, and it seemed as if Ncikazi may have been in with a shout of proving his credentials as a head coach at Pirates. However, that hope was short-lived as he was instead, named as part of a new look supporting staff for new coach Riviero. Now if the latest news are anything to go by, Ncikazi himself may have been taken aback by the decision or at least the timing behind it.
“Ncikazi knew that there was someone coming, but he just didn’t know who and when would be announced. He thought it was something that was going to happen during the season, because he had already planned everything for the season. The pre-season training is there, he was ready and the players knew that they have to prepare for this week because they went through fitness tests last week, “As much as he was shocked and surprised, he still knew what was going to happen and all he wants is to see the club getting back to its old ways. Coach Mandla is ambitious, very ambitious and I am certain that he will work well with coach Jose. He knows the players, he knows what is needed at the club and the most important thing is that he always puts the club first. As much as he was shocked, he knows his responsibilities and the management of the club believe in him.” Said a source speaking to The Citizen.
A chance to learn from Riviero before taking over?
Ncikazi may still be viewed as a long-term candidate for the Pirates job, with the appointment of Riviero being used as just another opportunity to learn en-route to that goal. Whether or not he will be patient enough to wait for that, remains to be seen.