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By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist

Riveiro gives more detail on Makgopa’s post-AFCON transformation

'It’s about confidence, it was not easy for the boy,' said the Pirates head coach.

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro says he has seen a big change in his striker Evidence Makgopa following his return to the club from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with Bafana Bafana.

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Riveiro says the forward, who was subjected to a lot of criticism before, has gained a lot of confidence after his helping Bafana to a third-place finish at the continental tournament. Makgopa also scored in the team’s 2-0 victory against Morocco in the round of 16.

“That’s the key, confidence. That’s probably the biggest change when you speak about Evidence. It’s about confidence, it was not easy for the boy. He went through a difficult period when he started to play for us continuously in the league,” said the Buccaneers coach.

“Sometimes the feedback he got from the stands was not fair but he managed to navigate it, to make the situation a strength and motivation for him to show his quality.”

“And after his performance in the Ivory Coast, I think nobody has doubts about his potential. But still, he’s 23, making his first steps into a big club like Pirates and he needs to know that there is an opportunity in the second half of the season to show that he can do much better.”

Riveiro believes there is a lot that can come from Makgopa and he must continue working hard to fight for a place in the starting eleven.

‘The best is still coming’

“There’s potential for more and he is not feeling relaxed or feeling that he’s already got a permanent starting berth because the competition is still strong,” he added.

“So the best is still coming for him, I’m sure but he needs to keep that level of confidence and keep delivering for the team.”

READ MORE: Riveiro banking on last season’s Nedbank Cup experience to beat Crystal Lake

The tall striker has scored five goals for Pirates in 18 appearances in all competitions so far this season.

He has an opportunity to add to his goal-coring tally when the Buccaneers take on third-tier side Crystal Lake FC in the last 32 of the Nedbank Cup at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.

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