Evidence Makgopa: Orlando Pirates Coach Jose Riveiro Lauds Striker’s Transformation After AFCON 2023

Evidence Makgopa: Orlando Pirates Coach Jose Riveiro Lauds Striker’s Transformation After AFCON 2023

Robert Abong'o
updated at February 18, 2024 at 2:03 PM
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  • Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro has heaped praise on Evidence Makgopa
  • The forward started the Buccaneers DSTV premiership game vs Mamelodi Sundowns
  • The 23-year-old striker was among the Bafana Bafana heroes at the AFCON 2023

Following Evidence Makgopa’s standout performances at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023, his club coach, Jose Riveiro, says he has undergone a remarkable transformation.

The Orlando Pirates striker showcased his talents during the recent continental tournament in Ivory Coast, where the host nation emerged victorious.

His contributions were instrumental in South Africa's AFCON 2023 success, with the team securing a bronze medal after a thrilling victory over DR Congo in the third-place playoff.

Bafana Bafana striker Evidence Makgopa. Photo: Franck Fife.
Evidence Makgopa was among the Bafana Bafana heroes at the AFCON 2023. Photo: Franck Fife.
Source: Getty Images

Despite initial criticism, the striker proved his worth with one goal and assist during Bafana's AFCON campaign.

In the current domestic league season, the 23-year-old has already scored four goals in 23 matches across all competitions for the Soweto giants.

Makgopa earned a spot in Riveiro’s starting lineup against leaders Mamelodi Sundowns when the DStv Premiership return (Premier Soccer League) resumed on Saturday, February 11. Although the match ended in a 1-1 draw, he displayed a commendable performance, playing for 68 minutes at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

Riveiro, acknowledging the player's growth, attributed it to the experience gained from the tournament in Abidjan.

“He was in a top continental tournament, competing with many players playing for top sides in Europe. He spent seven weeks camping with his exceptional teammates around him," said Riveiro, as quoted on Far Post.

He stressed Makgopa's exposure to top-level competition and his time spent with exceptional teammates during the seven-week camp, highlighting Makgopa's perseverance. The Spaniard noted that despite facing challenges in the past season, the striker has utilized his moment effectively.

Bafana head coach, Hugo Broos, also defended his decision to include Makgopa in the AFCON squad amidst criticism. Broos expressed his confidence in the forward's potential to excel, particularly after his stellar performance and goal against the Atlas Lions.

The team produced a big upset to knock 10-man Morocco out of the tournament in the Round of 16, as reported by EuroSport.

Addressing critics, the Belgian manager reiterated his belief in Makgopa's abilities, stressing the striker's hard work and talent, evident in his impressive goal-scoring record.

Steve Sekano backs Evidence Makgopa to shine in future

Sports Brief reported that former Orlando Pirates midfield maestro, Steve Sekano, is confident that Evidence Makgopa has the potential to become one of South Africa's best strikers.

Sekano praised Makgopa's improvement, especially under the regular national team exposure.

Despite his commendable performances, he highlighted areas of development, particularly his first touch and finishing ability.

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Robert Abong'o
Editor - Africa Team
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