Gerald Phiri Junior returned to Bidvest Stadium in Baroka FC’s colours certainly determined to prove his former South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL) employers wrong for starving him of game-time during his three-year contract with Bidvest Wits.
And when the opportunity presented itself in the 42nd minute, the attacker did what he knows best—he, with the composure of a serial sniper, bent the ball over the desperately jumping and disintegrating human wall and beyond the arms of Wits goalkeeper Brandon Peterson at the near post.
In celebration, Phiri wheeled away, giving a salute to Baroka fans, while his former coach Gavin Hunt rubbed his cheek in visible frustration. Hunt was haunted by his former player.
Yet in an interview Wednesday, the 2019 Cosafa Player of the Tournament downplayed his goal, saying: “No revenge at all. It was, at the end of the day, just a normal game.”
With that goal, Phiri had won the hearts and all the points for Baroka who instantly leapt to the summit of the 16-member PSL with four points from two games, following a 2-2 draw with Cape Town City on Saturday.
Phiri, who signed for Baroka last month, spent frustrating time at Wits who kept on loaning him out to Township Rollers (Botswana), Platinum Stars before he signed for Ajax Cape Town last season.
The former Be Forward Wanderers player was eventually substituted in the 81st minute for Lawrence Ntswane whereas his compatriot Richard Mbulu played the entire match.
Save for injured Robert Ng’ambi, the rest of Malawians in the PSL including Gabadinho Mhango and Limbikani Mzava have started the season on a high.