Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro has stated that Tshegofatso Mabasa’s impressive form is due to playing regularly since returning to the club from a loan spell in January.

Mabasa (27) netted his first career hattrick in Pirates 7-1 demolition of Golden Arrows in the DSTV Premiership on Saturday. 

The result moved the Buccaneers to third place on the log, two points behind second-placed Stellenbosch.

Mabasa’s league tally now stands at 10 goals, and has equaled Lucas Ribeiro of Mamelodi Sundowns in the race for top goal scorer. 

The forward has now scored six goals across all competitions for Pirates since returning in January from a loan spell with Moroka Swallows.

“Like every other player, confidence and continuity it is key to performing, sometimes we’re not fair when we give one game in isolation, it’s not going to tell you the truth about the player.

“So the moment that you… first of all, if you’re playing regularly, it means that confidence is in you, from everyone around you and football form usually comes with competition. If now we speak positions like Tshego’s position, a specialist,” Riveiro told the media at the Orlando Stadium.

Mabasa was loaned out to Swallows at the beginning of the season, and it was said that he wasn’t part of the technical team’s plans. He flourished in his loan spell, netting six times for the Dube Birds.

After scoring a brace in the 4-0 thumping of Hungry Lions in the Nedbank Cup last 16 in March, Mabasa received high praise from Riveiro. The Bucs mentor stated that Mabasa’s presence has influenced a different approach for the Sea Robbers. 

“Even though the role of the goalkeeper is now much bigger than before, they have to contribute and do a lot of things – like I said a few weeks ago, Tshego, like all other strikers in the squad as a player, helps the team play better.

“He has also the capacity to score goals like the rest of our strikers, so absolutely yes, to answer your question, but again, confidence continuity, have the opportunity to repeat in the starting eleven, or close to repeating the starting eleven like today.

“We could play nine players coming from the Swallows game, will always help to find better chemistry on the field and today is a good example of that,” Riveiro added.