Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro has said it’s important the coaching staff, players and supporters get behind young players like Evidence Makgopa as they break into the first team.
Riveiro was speaking after Pirates 1-1 draw with Polokwane City on Friday, where a small section of fans got on Makgopa’s case.
After the game, the coach and Makgopa went to greet the fans, and Riveiro explained why they did this.
“I think for a 23 years old guy, like Evidence, playing his first games for Pirates, it’s important to feel that we support him, all of us, the coaching staff, the players, the fans,” Riveiro said.
“So it goes without saying that if the atmosphere is properly supportive, everything is going to be much more easy for Evidence.
“We are playing with a lot of young players nowadays in our starting XI and it’s important that we take care of them, that we protect them. And because we all get benefit of that, whoever is playing the number nine position must feel that we trust him. It’s going to be much more easy for him to score goals, to play good passes, but at the same time, at the same time, we are all professionals we have to handle the heat, if you cannot handle the heat, you better get out of the kitchen. We understand that. We have to accept it.
“The players usually always try to do the things as good as possible. I remember last season we have a similar situation with one of our strikers. He came in, 10 minutes to go we were 1-1 one here against Golden Arrows and suddenly he scored a goal, he gave us three points, and the people got more quiet.
“Today Makgopa was very close to scoring that second goal – very, very close. So it’s a good signal, that even though things were not easy for him, he continued trying and he wants to show to everybody around that he’s a good player and he has a passion for Pirates.
“Obviously like I said if the atmosphere is embracing the players, especially the players, everything becomes much more easy. I think in general the people coming to Orlando it is what they do. They sing, they jump, they dance, they support the all the way from the first minute until the end and then there’s always a different group of people who’s more accepting or more critic with the players or the coach, but it’s okay, we keep fighting.”