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Gabadinho Mhango joins chase for Orlando Pirates’ jersey 10

Malawi national football team attacker, Gabadinho Mhango, continues to hog the limelight in South Africa where he appears on the list of five players earmarked for Orlando Pirates jersey 10.

Pirates retired the jersey number in honour of their legend Jomo Sono whose goalscoring exploits won the team several trophies.

According to leading South African online football publication, kickoff.com, Pirates retired the jersey after club chairman Irvin Khoza announced that it would take another special player to wear it again.

The four other players fighting for the jersey with Mhango are Luvuyo Memela, Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule and Fortune Makaringe.

Dribbling wizard, Steve Lekoelea, was the only player to be handed the famous jersey at Pirates since Jomo Sono after he signed for Pirates from Moroka Swallows as a teenager.

However, he was later stripped of the privilege due to off-field problems.

Sono told kickoff.com that he had thrown a big challenge to the current generation of Pirates players to emulate his success at the club and don the jersey.

He said while Mhango was helping the club with his excellent scoring form, there are questions over his consistency next season.

“I don’t know. I can’t judge. But remember, a player wearing that jersey must be consistent. It was not a one-off thing,” Sono warned.

“Mhango is scoring goals this season. Is he going to maintain the same performance and score goals again next season? That’s a big question.”

Sono went on to say that it would be a tall order for the current generation to take over jersey 10 as they join the club towards the end of their careers.

“For me, it was 13 years of consistent performances. I don’t know if the current players can do that. Remember, I started playing for Pirates when I was very young.

“I still hold the record of being the youngest player ever to play professional football [in South Africa]. I was 15 years old then. The current players are 26, 27 years. It’s a tall order,” he said.

Mhango reserved his comment, saying he is at Pirates just to help the club win trophies and not battling for the jersey.

The former Nyasa Big Bullets striker is currently wearing jersey number seven which was also worn by another Malawian, Joseph Kamwendo, who also played for Pirates in the past.

Kamwendo said it would not be easy for Mhango to take over the remarkable jersey number.

“Jersey 10 is regarded as the most important in football and is given to the most influential player. But if Gaba continues scoring goals next season, he would definitely be considered,” Kamwendo said.

Seasoned striker Chiukepo Msowoya also played for the Soweto giants and was given jersey number 29.

Gaba is the current top goal scorer in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League with 14 goals.

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