By Mabvuto Kambuwe & Peter Kanjere:
The Flames’ relative impressive outing at the 2019 Cosafa Cup is paying dividends, as South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants, Orlando Pirates, Wednesday announced they had reached an agreement with Bidvest Wits to sign star forward Gabadinho Mhango.
However, Gabadinho, who put behind his disappointing season at Wits to score three goals in six matches as the Flames claimed Cosafa Plate silver in Durban, Wednesday seemed surprised by the imminent Pirates deal.
“I need to check with my manager before I comment about that development. Right now, I am on pre-season training with Wits. I joined the pre-season right after the Cosafa Cup,” the former Nyasa Big Bullets player said in a telephone interview.
Pirates confirmed they were close to signing Gabadinho— who made a name at Bloemfontein Celtic before signing for Wits via a loan spell at Golden Arrows in 2016—through their website.
“The 26-year-old Malawian international will undergo a medical tomorrow [today] and join his new teammates for the afternoon training session,” Pirates says www.orlandopiratesfc. co.za.
“Orlando Pirates Football Club would like to thank Wits’ management for the professional manner that these negotiations were conducted.”
Gabadinho will at Pirates follow in the footsteps of compatriots Chiukepo Msowoya, Joseph Kamwendo and Ernest Mtawali.
Msowoya struggled for game-time at Pirates before he returned home while Mtawali helped the Soweto giant to win the 2001 PSL title. Kamwendo also spent two seasons with Pirates.
Gabadinho joins at Pirates other new signings namely Joris Delle, Kabelo Dlamini, Bongani Sam, Fortune Makaringe, Siphesihle Ndlovu, Tebogo Tlolane and Tshegofatso Mabasa.
The contract of Gabadinho expires this month at Wits who, last month, exercised their option to extend it by a year, meaning that Pirates w ill buy him.
South Africa-based Malawian sports journalist, Benjamin Nyirenda, has followed Gabadinho and explained the prospects of the striker excelling with the Soweto giants.
“His style of play will suit the way Pirates play and he is going to succeed. He will be one of the players to watch out this season. There are good midfielders who will supply good balls for him to score goals. It is really a good move for the team and the player and, above all, it is a good move for Malawi national football team. They need players playing regularly at the high level,” Nyirenda said.
The 2019 Cosafa Player of the Season Gerald Phiri Junior also signed for Baroka after his impressive performance in Durban, to join Richard Mbulu who had penned for the PSL club at the onset of the tournament.
At Celtic, Gabadinho was voted players’ player of the year and top goal-scorer after netting nine goals in 2013. He scored five goals for Arrows before joining Wits.
He helped Wits to win the MTN 8 and PSL title.
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