Gabadinho Mhango offers slim PSL hope


The influence of Malawian players in the South Africa Absa Premier Soccer League (PSL)—the continent’s biggest in commercial value—has this decade been diminishing at an astonishing rate.

The likes of Jomo Sono are no longer turning to the Warm Heart of Africa for talent. Giants such as Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns are no longer interested in Malawi’s fading talent.

With the 2016 season getting underway in South Africa last Tuesday, the only Malawians in the PSL teams worth mentioning were Limbikani Mzava (Golden Arrows), Esau Kanyenda (Polokwane City), Atusaye Nyondo (Bloemfontein Celtic), Robert Ng’ambi (Platinum Stars) and Gabadinho Mhango (Bidvest Wits).


Ng’ambi scored in 1-0 win over SuperSport United on Wednesday, a day after Gabadinho offered a man-of-the match perfomance in 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs. That was the only rare good news for the Malawian footballers in the Rainbow Nation.

The rest such as Robin Ngalande and Gerald Phiri Jnr’s future at Bidvest appears uncertain. The duo did not even make the substitutes’ bench during the game against Chiefs.

Another Malawian in the PSL, Micium Mhone is now playing in the First Division following Jomo Cosmos’ relegation. Nyasa Big Bullets striker, Muhamad Sulumba, is also on the verge of moving to Polokwane.


If the deal is sealed, the number of Malawians in the PSL could rise to eight. Still a far cry compared to the representation in the league of Zimbabweans, Namibians and Zambians, who have at least 15 players each in top teams such as Sundowns.

So, why should Malawi football be concerned with the PSL’s state of affairs? The professional set-up of South Africa football has, over the years, helped raise the performance of Malawian players, and with it the national team.

With the PSL matches broadcast to the world audience, South Africa is surely a stepping stone to the tight door of European football.

The likes of Kanyenda and Russel Mwafulirwa used South Africa as the gateway to Europe having signed for Rostov (Russia) and IFK Norrkoping in Sweden in 2003 and 2008 respectively.

The dwindling of Malawi football exports to South Africa has been as a direct result of stagnating TNM Super League standards. Local teams are struggling financially and administratively.

Top powerful strikers are rare in Malawi and so are defenders. Most foreign teams buy defenders and strikers (John Maduka, Jack Chamangwana and Patrick Mabedi).

In Malawi, the lack of quality in strikers is evidenced by the fact that the 28-goal Super League mark has remained unsurpassed since 2003.

It all goes back to the low supply of talent from the junior national teams and local club’s failure to participate in international competitions.

Most Zambians and Zimbabweans get spotted by the likes of Chiefs and Sundowns when participating in Caf Confederation Cup, Champions League and continental junior championships.

Ngalande and Mzava signed for Sundowns’ reserve and Celtic respectively after playing for Malawi Under-17 National Team at the 2009 Africa Youth Championship in Algeria.

However, despite the doom and gloom, the likes of Ng’ambi and Gabadinho offer some hope that the Malawians’ in the PSL might make their presence felt for good reasons. Overall, the PSL season might be one of more struggles for the Malawians.

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