Evidence Makgopa: What does the future hold?

Evidence Makgopa, GOALGOAL
  • Evidence Makgopa, Baroka FC & Njabulo Blom, Kaizer Chiefs, February 2022Backpagepix

    Disappointing season

    Evidence Makgopa came into the 2021-22 campaign with high expectations after his breakthrough term in the PSL which saw him being named the league's 2020-21 Young Player of the Season - the first Baroka FC player to win the accolade. However, things went pear-shaped for both the player and his club as he struggled to score goals in the recent season. Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele started the campaign well with Makgopa scoring goals, but once the South Africa international endured a goal drought the Limpopo-based side began dropping points. 

    Baroka endured a 12-match winless run in the league which led to the dismissal of coach Thoka Matsimela and he was later replaced by Kgoloko Thobejane. However, Thobejane was also fired before his assistant Vincent Kobola took charge but he couldn't save the team from relegation as Bakgaga Ba Mphaphele were demoted to the National First Division at the end of the campaign with the club's six-year stay in the top-flight coming to an end. Baroka did enjoy a good cup run despite Makgopa's scoring woes continuing in the Nedbank Cup with the team reaching the quarter-finals where they were eliminated by eventual runners-up Marumo Galants.

  • Evidence Makgopa Baroka FCBackpagepix

    The story of last season

    Makgopa was able to carry Baroka with his good form in the few months of the campaign - scoring as the team secured wins over Sekhukhune Inited and Marumo Gallants between August and September last year. However, Bakgaga Ba Mphahele went 12 matches without a win in the league with Makgopa scoring just once between September and December 2021, while also providing two assists against Royal AM and Stellenbosch FC in this period. 

    The Baroka academy product was part of the Coastal United side which played two matches in the PSL's mid-season tournament, DStv Compact Cup, but he couldn't find the back of the net nor assist. Makgopa's poor form in front of goal continued when the PSL resumed - enduring a 14-match goal drought which came to an end when he scored against SuperSport United in April this year as Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele claimed a 3-1 victory, but a defeat to Maritzburg United on the final day of the season relegated the Limpopo-based side to the NFD.

    Makgopa ended the term with four goals and four assists from 31 matches across all competitions for Baroka - making him the club's top scorer and most creative player. Despite being inconsistent at club level, Makgopa remained a permanent fixture in Bafana's squad - scoring once and providing one assist from eight matches including five games in the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers under coach Hugo Broos.

  • Evidence Makgopa, South Africa U23, July 2021Getty Images

    Any transfer rumours?

    Kaizer Chiefs were credited with an interest in Makgopa at the end of the recent season after the Glamour Boys released centre forwards Leocnaraso Castro, Samir Nurklobc and Lazarous Kambole. However, the Glamour Boys discovered that the Ga-Mampa-born player had agreed to join their arch-rivals, Orlando Pirates. There have been reports suggesting that Pirates signed the gifted player from Baroka at the same time as Goodman Mosele before loaning Makgopa back to Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele for the 2021-22 season

    This however was dismissed by Baroka chairman Khurishi Mphahlele, but the club was said to have received offers many clubs including Pirates and Copenhagen after enjoying a successful 2020-21 season and also playing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan where he scored a decent goal against France as South Africa suffered a narrow defeat. His former coach at Baroka, Dylan Kerr disclosed that Copehagan were interested in Makgopa, but the player ended up choosing Pirates over the Danish giants

    Only time will tell whether Makgopa will regret not choosing Copenhagen who have since signed his Bafana teammate Luther Singh. Prior to joining Pirates, the hard-working player was linked with ambitious local clubs Sekhukhune in United and Royal AM, but he ended up moving to the Soweto giants. The two clubs are likely to monitor Makgopa's progress at Pirates before making move for him if things don't work out for him at Bucs.

  • Evidence Makgopa, Baroka FC, May 2021Backpagepix

    One big fear for 2022/23

    His finishing needs to improve. Makgopa is an out-and-out striker and one of the primary roles of such a player is to score goals. The former South Africa under-23-international tends to take up good positions close to the opponent's goal, but his finishing lets him down quite often. He needs to improve his finishing and take his chances at a big club like Pirates where there will be added pressure from the fans otherwise he will lose his place in the team and end up falling out of favour.

  • Evidence Makgopa, Baroka FC & Thulani Hlatshwayo, Orlando Pirates, November 2020Backpagepix

    One big hope for 2022/23

    For the 22-year-old to make the most of playing alongside Pirates' quality creative players. In Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule and Deon Hotto, Bucs have among the creative players in the PSL blessed with their special ability to pick out their target or teammate with accurate crosses and passes in the opposition's box. If Makgopa strikes a good understanding or combination with Lorch, Hotto and Pule he will be unstoppable at the Soweto giants.

  • Evidence Makgopa, Bafana Bafana, November 2021Backpagepix

    GOAL’s prediction for 2022/23

    Makgopa is likely to need more time to adjust to a new environment at Pirates, but once he gels with his teammates and gets to understand them on the pitch, he will flourish. The tall player has an undeniable talent and great potential which can be unlocked if new Bucs coach Jose Riviera and his technical team adopt a system or playing style which allows him to play to his strengths as a box striker.