Gerald Phiri Jnr impresses Platinum Stars
Flames lanky midfielder Gerald Phiri Jnr has, after a year of inactivity, made an impressive start to life in the South Africa Absa Premier Soccer League (PSL) at Platinum Stars.
Despite not scoring for Stars, the former Be Forward Wanderers and Zimbabwe’s Caps United midfielder has featured in three consecutive PSL matches, the latest being in Stars 1-2 loss to defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Tuesday night.
In the three appearances, he was substituted once in the 89th minute when Stars drew 0-0 with Orlando Pirates. Phiri also had a run in Saturday’s goalless draw against Baroka United.
On Tuesday, Phiri’s contribution on the pitch was evidenced in attack and defence as he cleared off the goal-line Sundowns’ Khama Billiat’s first-half shot.
Phiri’s South Africa-based Manager, Paul Mitchell, said his client was proving his worth with Stars where he is on loan from Bidvest Wits.
“Gerald is doing very well as we all knew he would. The only reason he did not play for Bidvest Wits was due to problems with his work permit and local identity card,” Mitchell said.
“However, all is now sorted out and he will revert to Wits in July after the season. Gerald is a top player, highly rated and will grow from strength to strength.”
During the game, Sundowns beat Stars courtesy of goals from Themba Zwane and Billiat whereas Sphamandla netted the hosts’ consolation.
Probably, Phiri has settled quickly at Stars due to his compatriot Robert Ng’ambi who is an influential Stars players.
Phiri endured a nightmare debut season for Wits after being on the sidelines due to visa hitches. He was loaned out to Botswana outfit, Township Rollers but never kicked a ball due to similar problems.
Despite being inactive, the midfielder proved his class when he scored a beauty in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland at Kamuzu Stadium on September 26.
Malawi won the match 1-0.
Currently, Wits’ striker Frank Gabadihno Mhando is the most outstanding Malawian footballer in the PSL having scored seven goals.
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