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Makgopa has more to learn and much to offer Bucs

No one doubts his potential anymore — Riveiro

Neville Khoza Journalist
Evidence Makgopa of Pirates at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.
Evidence Makgopa of Pirates at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.
Image: VELI NHLAPO

Despite Evidence Makgopa having found his confidence after his impressive performance with Bafana Bafana during the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro still expects more from the striker.

The Spaniard tactician warned the striker the competition for a place in the starting line-up at the Buccaneers was strong.

Makgopa, who made those who questioned his inclusion eat humble pie, was expected to lead the attack when the Buccaneers start their Nedbank Cup defence against Crystal Lake in the last 32 at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday at 3pm.

“That’s the key, confidence. That’s probably the biggest change if we speak about Evidence, it’s about confidence,” Riveiro said at during the press conference on Thursday.

“It was not easy for the boy. He had to go through a very difficult period when he started to play for us continuously in the league. Sometimes the feedback that he got from the stands [supporters] was not fair.

“But he managed to navigate it to make that situation one more strength for him, one more motivation to show his capacity. And after his performance in Ivory Coast, I think nobody has any doubt anymore about his potential.”

At 23, Riveiro feels Makgopa can still improve and offer Bucs more.

“He is still 23, making his first steps in a big club like Pirates and he needs now to [continue]. He still has the opportunity in the second half of the season to show that he can do it even much better because there is potential for more, not feeling relaxed or feeling that he has already got a permanent start.

“The competition in the team is still strong. He is competing with players who have interesting backgrounds. Players who are also fighting for their future.”

Having to face an unknown like Crystal Lake, Riveiro insisted they won’t take them for granted as they had learnt their lesson when they played lower teams last season.

“On the day it is a football match and we are going with the intention of showing maximum respect for our opponents and taking the game seriously.”

Fixtures

Friday: Arrows v Galaxy, Mpumalanga (7pm); Stellenbosch v Callies, Danie Craven (7pm).

Saturday: JDR v Lions, Giant (3pm); Rovers v Swallows, Isak Steyl (3pm); Ravens v Spain, Princess Magogo (3pm); Crystal Lake v Pirates, Mbombela (3pm); Bay v Polokwane, King Zwelithini (6pm).

Sunday: D'General v Madridistas, Free State (3pm); Maritzburg v Paarl, Princess Magogo (3pm); NC Pro's v Chippa, Mxolisi Jacobs (3pm); Chiefs v Milford, FNB (6pm).


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