Bafana Bafana

Bafana hero Makgopa reveals what Mkhalele told him privately before starring against Uganda

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Evidence Makgopa (Gallo Images)
Evidence Makgopa (Gallo Images)
  • Bafana Bafana clinched a 3-2 victory over Uganda on Thursday to remain undefeated against the East Africans.
  • In their first Bafana outing, Evidence Makgopa scored a brace while Bongokuhle Hlongwane also added his name to the scoresheet.
  • South Africa will be back in action in September against Zimbabwe and Ghana.

Getting a call-up to the Bafana Bafana squad is always a special moment but scoring on your senior national debut is the icing on the cake.

Evidence Makgopa was a late call-up to the squad that took on Uganda following ailments to six players who tested positive for Covid-19 and picked up injuries.

Bafana Bafana were trailing 1-0 at half-time before assistant coach Helman Mkhalele made tactical changes to his starting line-up before the second stanza.

He reverted from a 3-4-3 formation to a more familiar 4-3-3 layout and introduced the in-form Thabiso Kutumela from Maritzburg United and Makgopa of Baroka FC.

The face of the game changed immediately as Makgopa levelled matters 15 minutes into the second-half, while another debutant Bongokuhle Hlongwane gave South Africa the lead.

Makgopa completed his brace with a striker's instinct finish, which proved to be the all-important match-winner as Uganda scored late in the dying minutes.

Speaking to the media, Makgopa detailed the conversation he had with Mkhalele before Thursday’s match.

"I don't have much to say; first of all, I'd like to thank almighty God, also the coaches, for the call-up," Makgopa said.

"Even before the game, the coach called me in his office. He told me I have that hunger and aggression when I am playing.

"He told me I must be one of the top [players] in the country. I must take this team to AFCON and [the] World Cup.

"I know the coach has belief in me. All the credit must go to the Bafana Bafana players. They encouraged me throughout the game."

Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana will only return to action in September when the 2022 World Cup qualifiers kick-off as they face Zimbabwe and Ghana.

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