Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has reserved special praise for Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo after his standout performance against Mamelodi Sundowns during the MTN8 semi-final first-leg on Saturday.
Playing his first match for the Soweto giants, Ndlondlo was problematic to the Tshwane giants’ midfield and that led to their change early in the second half with Andile Jali coming off for Bongani Zungu.
Ezimnyama Ngenkani scooped the 27-year-old on the last day of the recently closed Premier Soccer League transfer window.
‘HE HAS BEEN FANTASTIC’ – RIVEIRO ON NDLONDLO
“I don’t believe in individual trophies and that kind of stuff,” Riveiro told the media as quoted by iDiski Times.
“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 line-up. 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 line-up. 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.”
Jose Riveiro at the press conference – Photo: Twitter @Lorenz_KO
NDLONDLO REACTS TO GETTING A MAN OF THE MATCH AWARD
The former Marumo Gallants star won the man of the match award for his efforts and in reaction to that, he said he had to give thanks to the technical team for trusting him.
“It was a tough game but we managed to come together as a team and also I need to give back to the technical team for believing in me,” Ndlondlo told SuperSport TV as quoted by iDiskiTimes.
“It’s my first time in the team and they gave me a start, so I needed to give back to them. I thank them for this, I think it belongs to them and the team as well, we really fought. It was part of the game that we drew 0-0.
“It was on hell of [a day], it was like a dream to me. Out of the blue, I had to play for the biggest team in the continent. So, I had to continue with the good that I’ve been doing from my previous team and translate it to the team, the biggest team in the country.”
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