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Jackson Mabokgwane: How I overcame the critics to become Orlando Pirates' first-choice goalkeeper

6:38 PM WAT 28/02/2018
Jackson Mabokgwane, Orlando Pirates
The Bucs shot-stopper stated that he is not easily shaken no matter how difficult the situation

Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane has responded to his critics ahead of Saturday's Soweto Derby.

The 30-year-old shot-stopper, who joined the Buccaneers in July 2017, endured a difficult 2016/17 Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign.

Mabokgwane had to apologize to Bucs and its supporters following his howler in the team's 2-1 defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic at the Orlando Stadium in December 2016.

Before that the former South Africa youth international was surprisingly beaten by fellow goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke, who scored with a spectacular bicycle-kick as Baroka FC held Pirates to a 1-1 draw at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in November 2016.

Mabokgwane was also in goal as the Buccaneers suffered their worst defeat in PSL era when they were thumped 6-0 by a ruthless Mamelodi Sundowns side at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in February 2017.

He was dropped prior to the start of the current campaign with new signing Wayne Sandilands taking over as Pirates' first-choice keeper.

Speaking on The Sowetan, Mabokgwane stated that his mental strength helped him bounce back and regain his place in the team.

"As a goalkeeper, you are judged more harshly than the other players. When you make a mistake it becomes a big thing," Mabokgwane said.

"After those difficult moments I just told myself that I need to work hard and put it behind me because I know what I am capable of as a keeper," he continued.

"I have a strong mentality which is one of my strengths. I am not easily shaken no matter how difficult the situation," the former Sundowns shots-stopper added.

Mabokgwane has made 12 appearances in the league this season - keeping four clean sheets in the process.

The former Bidvest Wits goal-minder is relishing facing Bucs' fierce rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto Derby clash at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

"I am looking forward to playing for the first time. It is a match that means a lot to the fans and is watched by the entire country," he continued.

"[But] at the end of the day three points are on the line and we are aiming [for that]," Mabokgwane concluded.

A victory for the Mabokgwane and his team-mates over Chiefs will see Pirates cement their place in position two on the league standings.

Bucs are four points behind log leaders Sundowns, who are set to face AmaZulu FC at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Friday.