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‘Forgive Gabadinho’

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Gabadinho Mhango

There is a saying that weak people revenge, strong people forgive.

Matthew 6 verse 14 reads, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

Perhaps this is what is needed for Flames striker Gabadinho Mhango who continues to be sidelined at DStv Premiership side Orlando Pirates due to disciplinary issues.

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Probably, Mhango is going through one of his lowest moments in his football career. Surprisingly, Pirates coaches continue to change the goal posts on the reasons behind his sidelining.

Last week, Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids made headlines when he said Mhango is being sidelined due to disciplinary issues.

This came just weeks after another Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi also made headlines for his bizarre comments regarding the Africa Cup of Nations finals in which he claimed the Premiership was bigger than the continental football show piece.

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Then, he was trying to justify Mhango’s exclusion from Pirates matches in all competition despite the striker scoring three goals at Afcon.

Davids hinted that the striker has disciplinary issues.

“In relation to the team selection there are various aspects you look at. First are you coming to training? Are you punctual in relation to being at training, and not having disciplinary issues that take you out of training,” Davids told South African media.

“Tick the first box. Then, it’s in relation to your performance in training. How you exert yourself in training and your performance.”

Probably, Davids was referring to a night club incident which happened five months ago. For a starter, Propaganda night club rejected claims that it detained the Flames striker.

By now, the striker should have been forgiven. After all, everyone makes mistakes.

For the better part of the season, the striker has even failed to make the match day squad-just one year after winning the PSL Golden Boot Award.

Of course, Mhango also had fitness concerns during the first three months of the season. Interestingly, Mhango’s former coaches have said they never had disciplinary problems with him.

Gavin Hunt, who coached Mhango at Wits and former Bloemfontein Celtic coach Clinton Larsen told South Africa’s Daily Sun that there was nothing wrong with them and the striker.

“We had an open relationship. When I coached him, when he first came to the country at Celtic and then again at Arrows, I never had a problem with him,” Larsen was quoted as saying.

On his part, Hunt said he never had a problem with Mhango.

“I never had a problem with his attitude, with his conduct, with his discipline, so it saddens me to hear these stories honestly, and it surprises me,” he was quoted as saying.

Probably, the two coaches, through this statements, are giving a clue that there could be more happening at Pirates than the disciplinary issues.

The Flames striker joined Pirates in January in 2020 from defunct Bidvest Wits. He made history when he won the Golden Boot Award in his debut season after he scored 16 goals.

Then, he shared the accolade with Namibian striker Peter Shalulile (now with Mamelodi Sundowns), who was playing for Highlands Park.

For winning the award, Mhango also became the third Pirates player to win it after late Lesley Manyathela and late Dennis Lota.

It took Mhango seven years in the PSL to win the golden boot award, becoming the first Malawian player to achieve it.

In his debut season, he scored nine goals for Celtic and also finished as the overall second top goal scorer to the then golden boot award winner Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs. Mhango was also voted as Celtic’s players’ player of the season.

In 2015, he signed for Wits but he was sent on loan at Golden Arrows where he netted five goals. The following year, he scored nine goals for Wits in his debut season for the club.

The same year, he helped the club to win the MTN Cup in 2016 before winning the PSL title in 2017.

To be honest, Mhango has been brave since moving to the PSL. His consistence in the PSL for the past eight years, save for this season, speaks volume of his quality.

For winning the golden boot award, Mhango proved that he is a special player after his compatriots failed to do so.

The likes of Esau Kanyenda, John Maduka, and Chiukepo Msowoya graced the PSL but only Kanyenda came close to winning the golden boot award.

He came second to the then winner Manyathela after scoring 18 goals.

Currently, Mhango, is regarded as Malawi’s best player of this generation.

The former Nyasa Big Bullets player proved his worth at Afcon finals in Cameroon, scoring three goals despite lack of game time at Pirates.

He netted a brace in a 2-1 win over Zimbabwe in the group stage before scoring a stunning goal in a 2-1 loss to Morocco in round of 16.

Mhango still has a running contract with Pirates until June 2023.

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