by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – EVIDENCE Makgopa has opened up about his blooper that is lampooned as the miss of the season.
The Baroka striker has instantly managed to turn his fortunes around and silenced critics in the most emphatic manner since that gaffe against Cape Town City earlier this month.
He went on to score against Kaizer Chiefs, the most prominent goal of his career, in his team’s next encounter and earned a call up to the preliminary Under-23 squad heading for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in July-August.
Makgopa’s form in the current and last season has seen him emerge as one of the junior team’s main hopes for goals at the Olympics.
His only blemish was missing that sitter in the game that eventually finished goalless away to The Citizens.
The Baroka forward’s fluffing his lines in front of an open net at the Cape Town Stadium is arguably the miss of the season so far.
“It’s one of those things,” the 20-year-old broke his silence in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
He disclosed the support teammates offered him in overcoming the mistake.
“They (misses) happen in the game, so I cannot kill myself for what happened previously, than pick myself. Obviously, teammates play a big role when it comes to football. As players we learn each and every day.”
The player from GaMampa near Burgersfort has bounced back in style.
His pivotal equaliser against Chiefs not only denied AmaKhosi a leap to the top eight but kept alive Bakgaga’s fight for a finish in the top half of the log.
The one-all draw at the FNB Stadium last Thursday was the latest in a series of Baroka’s killjoy performances against Chiefs.
A day later, Makgopa made it to coach David Notoane’s Amaglug-glug preliminary squad for the Olympics.
Rarely does the player, in his second season in the topflight, grant media interviews.
However, when he spoke to CAJ News Africa, he disclosed how he was not resting on his laurels despite being picked for the squad, being rated as one of the country’s best prospects and the watershed goal against Chiefs.
While he was excited being picked for the preliminary national team was an honour, he revealed he would be entirely excited if he made the final 22 to travel to Japan.
Makgopa, the Baroka top scorer with six goals, was also modest about his goal against Chiefs, still South Africa’s glamour club despite its challenges in recent seasons.
“If I say the goal was special, it would mean I didn’t believe I would score. So, it wasn’t special at all,” the centre forward reasoned.
His other goals have come against Black Leopards, Chippa United, Golden Arrows and Stellenbosch FC (two).
Baroka visit Chippa in their next league encounter on Tuesday but Makgopa said they were not reading into the Chilli Boys’ boardroom and on-field troubles that has the Eastern Cape side staring relegation.
“It’s not going to be an easy one because they are not in a good position,” he said of Chippa.
While he remains modest about his progress, he is elated at being hailed as one of the brightest prospects.
Manqoba Mngqithi, coach of title favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, recently singled out the towering striker as a major threat.
“I can call that a special feeling,” Makgopa concluded.
– CAJ News