Avatar photo

By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist

Pirates coach Riveiro hails Makgopa’s AFCON experience

'He was in a top continental tournament, competing with many players who are playing for top sides in Europe,' said the Bucs coach.

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has hailed the growth of his striker Evidence Makgopa, stating that the Caf Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has helped the 23 year-old improve.

ALSO READ: Johnson slams Chiefs players after Royal AM stalemate

Makgopa was the leading attacker for Hugo Broos’ Bafana at the AFCON. The striker scored in South Africa’s 2-0 victory over Morocco in the last 16, with the team going on to finish in third place.

Makgopa’s contribution for Bafana impressed Riveiro, who started him in the Buccaneers 1-1 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns in the DStv Premiership at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

“I’m not saying this because I know the differences already, but obviously, he’s not the same player anymore,” said the Bucs coach.

“He was in a top continental tournament, competing with many players who are playing for top sides in Europe. He spent seven weeks camping with his exceptional (national team) teammates around him.”

At the top of his game

The Pirates coach added that the experience Makgopa gained at the continental competition will play a big role in his career and he reckons the striker is at the top of his game at the moment.

“He finally got the opportunity that probably we were looking for since he signed for Pirates,” he added.

“One year ago, for many reasons, it was impossible, and not because he didn’t try. Like I explained many times, he didn’t start the season with the same opportunity as everybody else. But, now it’s his moment, and I think he is using his moment very well.

Having impressed his coach, Makgopa will be key for Pirates in the club’s quest to finish as high as possible on the league standings.

With one point gained against Sundowns, Pirates remained in fifth spot on the log with the club having collected 26 points from 17 matches.

The Buccaneers’ next fixture will see them taking on Hollywoodbets Men’s Regional League side Crystal Lake FC away from home on Saturday in the last 32 of the Nedbank Cup.

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits