Riveiro Takes Ownership Over Makgopa Situation At Pirates

Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro has explained the situation that has left Evidence Makgopa on the periphery of the first team in his debut season.

The Bafana Bafana striker, 22, is said to have been left disappointed by his recent exclusion from the national team, according to sources close to the player, with the lack of minutes one of the key factors behind head coach Hugo Broos’ commission.

But Makgopa has not voiced his discontent publically or to the technical staff but has naturally looked for more opportunities to prove himself and build his fitness after injuries prevented him from starting the 2022/23 season within the first-team plans.

“It’s difficult to say how close [he is to play regularly], the important thing is that he came in and he contributes, he’s helping us,” Riveiro said at Rand Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

“Evidence is an example, as a professional, as a human being, he’s working hard every day, he is very humble – he is never complaining about lack of minutes recently.”

Makgopa suffered an ankle injury in pre-season which saw him only return make his first appearance on the bench in October 2022 for the club and thus falling heavily down the pecking order.

“There are many reasons again, he was injured in two different periods this season, so he couldn’t help with the continuity but he’s a high potential prospect as a number nine. And I’m 100% percent sure without any doubt, Evidence is going to come to the party soon.

“He will make an impact soon at Pirates and in South African football because he has the conditions, he just needs to, as the rest of the team, as the rest of us, be more consistent and he’s going to get opportunities.”

However, the Spaniard has taken ownership of the situation that’s left the Baroka player, who attracted interest from Denmark and France before his move to the Buccaneers – stating that it’s not for his lack of effort that he’s yet to receive a start for the club.

“In the moment of this team, we have to be fair, we cannot expect Evidence comes on [the pitch] in difficult moments and expect him to win the games for us,” he added.

“He did a good job [in the Nedbank Cup], he contributed, he was doing a fantastic job without the ball and I hope in the future we have the space for him to be more consistent in our starting eleven and give him a proper chance to be a regular.

“It’s difficult, like I mentioned many times, in his position, there are many possibilities for me, that’s why he’s not in the starting eleven not because he’s not doing enough, it’s just me in this case, that I am taking other players in his position, but the guy is doing everything very well.”

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