Malawian striker, Frank Gabadinho Mhango, underlined his class when he scored a first half hat-trick as Orlando Pirates thrashed Polokwane City FC 4-1 at New Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday night in South Africa.
Mhango is now the leading goal scorer in the Absa Premier Soccer League (PSL) with 10 goals, one goal above Highlands Park Peter Shalulire.
The Flames forward continues to hog the limelight in the PSL as he was also deservedly named man of the match.
This is the first time, Mhango has reached double figures since moving to the PSL in 2013.
Before the game, Mhango was trailing by two goals but he gave Pirates the lead as early as five minutes into the game.
“Pirates took the lead in the fifth minute. After winning the ball quickly in midfield, Luvuyo Memela released Mhango with the Malawian forward cutting inside and curling the ball expertly in to the far corner. Fortune Makaringe played a beautiful through ball over the top for Mhango, who lobbed George Chigova brilliantly with the volley,” reported Sport 24.
“Mhango grabbed his hat-trick in the 36th minute. Abel Mabaso broke down the right-hand side with some impressive pace and squared the ball in to the box for Mhango to complete a simple finish at the back post.”
Ben Motswari scored Pirates fourth goal whereas Mohammed Annas scored the consolation for Polokwane
The former Nyasa Big Bullets striker could have scored the fourth goal but his effort could not find the target after a fine cross from Thembinkosi Lorch.
Pirates are fifth with 24 points from 16 games on the PSL log table.
South Africa-based Malawian sports journalist, Benjamin Nyirenda, was not surprised with Gabadinho’s exploits as he does not deserve to play in South Africa.
“Remember the time Gabadinho Mhango signed for Pirates from Bidvest Wits at the start of the season I predicted that he [Gabadinho] is going to be a top goal scorer for the Premier Soccer League of South Africa. The reason behind it is that Gaba is a very good player. Actually he doesn’t deserve to be playing in South Africa but because some deals cannot be done he has to settle for South Africa. He had to settle for Orlando Pirates though and also Kaizer Chiefs wanted him,” he said.
Nyirenda, who works for Soccer Laduma, said Gabadinho has been given freedom to play his game hence his free scoring form.
“He has been given a free role; he is not restricted to be an outright striker number nine. He gets out of the box, comes back into the box. I still insist he will be a top goal scorer for the 2019/2020 PSL season,” he said.
One of the local coaches, Thom Mkolongo hailed Mhango for his bright start to life at Pirates.
“It is not easy for a player to settle quickly in a new team but Gaba has shown he is a great player. He should maintain his form to win the PSL golden boot award this season,” Mkolongo said.
Former Flames striker Esau Kanyenda is still recognised as the best Malawian striker to have graced the PSL as he was hitting double figures in the PSL every season when playing for Jomo Cosmos in the early 2000’s.
Kanyenda scored 43 goals in 92 starts for both Cosmos and Polokwane FC.
In his debut season at Cosmos, Kanyenda scored 18 goals in 28 starts—just one goal behind the winner of the golden boot award winner. He scored 15 goals in 16 starts for Cosmos before joining Rostov FC of Russia.
Mhango is expected to surpass Kanyenda’s record of scoring seven goals in consecutive games.
The former Brave Warriors striker moved to PSL in 2013 when he joined Bloemfontein Celtic and finished as the club’s top goal scorer with nine goals. He was also voted as Celtic’s Players Player of the Season. But joined Bidvest Wits in 2016 and also spent six months on loan at Golden Arrows.
He won PSL title and MTN 8 at Wits.