Bafana Bafana international Evidence Makgopa was a notable absentee when Baroka suffered a 1-0 loss to Maritzburg United at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday night.
Makgopa’s absence was evident as Bakgaga suffered a second successive defeat of the season in their opening three matches.
While most international players returned from their respective national team duties for the Limpopo club, Makgopa was surprisingly not part of the match day squad.
But head coach Matsemela Thoka has since explained why the 21-year-old missed the match.
“Makgopa had a family bereavement and it happened while he was already in Zimbabwe with the national team,” said Thoka.
“His uncle passed away so when he came back from national duty, we had to release him because spiritually he wouldn’t be with us. So, he was busy with the burial of his uncle on Saturday.”
The striker was expected to be back with the rest of his teammates at training on Monday in preparation for the league encounter against Sekhukhune United on Saturday afternoon, a match Thoka insists it’s a must win.
“There is no two ways about it, and this one we can’t compromise it’s a must win. We can’t afford to lose three games in a row. It will be very embarrassing for this team and it will be for the first time losing three games in a row.
“We had a very serious meeting with the players (on Sunday) to remind them the importance of being part of this team and why we brought them here. We need to double our efforts, even the technical team. We are here because of this team so everybody needs to work hard and the players need to know that as a footballer you are only as good as your last game,” added Thoka.
Baroka’s only three points this season was during the 2-0 win against Marumo Gallants in the opening match of the season.
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By Ofhani Munyai