South African giants Orlando Pirates have admitted missing Malawi National Football Team forward Gabadinho Mhango’s top goal scoring form of the 2019/20 season.
Mhango gave out a five-star performance in his debut season for Pirates, finishing joint Premier Soccer League top scorer with Namibian Peter Shalulile after netting 16 goals apiece.
However, injuries have seen the former Nyasa Big Bullets goal-poacher becoming a pale shadow of himself with just two league goals and one cup goal.
In Mhango’s absence, Pirates are experiencing a rich vein of form that has seen them maintain an unbeaten run in eight matches.
The team’s coach Josef Zinnbauer said he is missing last season’s Mhango.
“Without strikers, it was more headaches like now. Yes, it’s coming closer, but you see that Tshego [Mabasa] and also Gaba [Mhango] need more time. You see that Gaba works very well but you can see it’s not the old Gaba that we had before and Tshego also, but it was too short for time.
“But I am happy about this, I don’t have a headache about the players coming back, no, now I go forward and I have to fight, the fight is always good for us, we have competition in the squad and now we can go forward,” soccerladuma.co.za quoted Zinnbauer as telling the media.
According to a soccerladuma.co.za report, Pirates have largely played without strikers but the goals have kept flowing, with the Buccaneers finding the back of the net on 15 occasions in their last eight games.
“The Buccaneers strikers’ influence in front of goals has waned—none more so than their Malawian hitman Mhango, on who the club was overly reliant last season.
“This campaign, the 28-year-old has struggled to replicate the form that saw him walk away with the joint-top goalscorer award in the 2019/20 season and, to date, has scored just three goals, two of them in the league. To put Mhango’s decline in perspective, at the same mark last season, he had already netted 12 goals for Pirates,” reads the report.
Mhango’s situation has been a major cause of concern for the Flames, who are preparing to face South Sudan and Uganda in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month.