The 2019/20 season has seen Frank Mhango re-establish himself as one of the best players in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
The Orlando Pirates forward is sitting at the top of the Absa Premiership’s goalscoring charts having impressively netted 14 goals from 17 starts.
The man nicknamed Gabadinho is already among the best Malawian players to turn out in the South African top-flight league since 1996.
Known for their work-rate and tenacity, the Flames (Malawi national team) players have definitely left their mark on the PSL.
Mhango deservedly joins the list of the top five greatest Malawian players in the history of the PSL. The other four are Patrick Mabedi, Robert Ng’ambi, Ernest Mtawali and John Maduka.
Mabedi, a Kaizer Chiefs legend, is one of the finest defenders in the history of the PSL having achieved greatness during his time with the Soweto giants.
The former Nyasa Big Bullets defence stalwart, who captained Chiefs between 2004 and 2006, arrived in South Africa in 1998 and joined Amakhosi where he enjoyed a glorious spell winning two back-to-back PSL titles between 2004 and 2005.
The retired central defender also won the BP Top 8 Cup (MTN8), four Rothmans Cups (Coca Cola Cup/Telkom Knockout Cup), two Bob Save Super Bowls (Absa Cup/Nedbank Cup) and Caf African Cup Winners’ Cup.
In 2006, Mabedi left the Glamour Boys for Moroka Swallows where he spent two seasons, before he retired from professional football.
Ng’ambi is considered a legend at Black Leopards but played his best football at the now-defunct Platinum Stars.
The veteran midfield maestro joined Leopards in 2005 and quickly became an influential player during his six-year spell with Lidoda Duvha. He played a key role in helping the team finish as runners-up in the 2011 Nedbank Cup.
The former Malawi international was then snapped up by Stars and played an instrumental role in helping Dikwena finish second in the Absa Premiership (2012/13 season) before they clinched the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout Cup in 2013.
Ng’ambi, who was named 2013 MTN8 Player of the Tournament, is currently on the books of Leopards having rejoined in 2018.
Mtawali joined Orlando Pirates in 2000 having already achieved legendary status at Bloemfontein Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns, before the PSL era.
The former Malawi national football team coach helped the Buccaneers clinch the league and cup double (PSL title and BP Top 8 Cup) during the 2000/01 campaign having formed a formidable midfield partnership with Bafana Bafana legend Thabo Mngomeni.
Mtawali, who was voted South Africa’s Footballer of the Year in 1985, also won the PSL title in his final season (2002/03) with Pirates, before moving to Hellenic.
He then had a short spell with Ajax Cape Town in the twilight of his career before retiring from professional football in 2004.
Mhango has made an impact at each club he has played for in the PSL since arriving in the country in 2013 to join Bloemfontein Celtic.
The former Bullets forward narrowly missed out on the Absa Premiership Golden Boot award by one goal during his debut season (2013/14) before moving to Lamontville Golden Arrows in 2015.
At Arrows, Gabadinho is best remembered for scoring four goals in a single league game against Mpumalanga Black Aces (now known as Cape Town City) in April 2016.
The diminutive forward then moved to Bidvest Wits where he played an integral role in helping the team clinch the Absa Premiership and MTN8 double in his first season with the team.
Mhango also helped the Clever Boys to clinch the 2017 Telkom Knockout Cup and secured a big move to Pirates ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Maduka played for 12 successive seasons in the PSL as a reliable defensive midfielder between 1996 and 2009.
His first South African club was Umtata Bush Bucks where he spent seven seasons as a key player before moving to Zulu Royals (AmaZulu FC) following the former’s relegation from the PSL at the end of the 2002/03 campaign.
The former Malawi captain spent one season with Royals and was snapped up by Bloemfontein Celtic where he played an important role in helping the team to clinch the 2008 SAA Supa 8 (MTN8) as team captain.
Maduka hung up his boots at the end of the 2008/09 season and was a joint recipient of the PSL Chairman’s Award along with SuperSport United legend Andre Arendse at the PSL Awards ceremony in May 2009—SuperSport/The Daily Time