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Wits coach rues Gabadinho loss

HUNT—I was definitely sad to lose him

As Malawi national football team goal poacher, Gabadinho Mhango, continues to steal the limelight in South African football, his former coach at Bidvest Wits Gavin Hunt has expressed regret for allowing the star to join Orlando Pirates.

Mhango is the current top goal scorer in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) with 12 goals and is credited for helping Pirates regain their winning form.

The former Big Bullets gem’s five star performances have seen him becoming an instant fan favourite and he looks set to win the Player-of-the-Month accolade for January.

The Malawian international spent three seasons at Wits, whom he joined in 2016 from Celtic, and is enjoying his highest goals return since arriving in South Africa some seven years ago.

Hunt said he let go of Mhango because the offer he got was too good to refuse.

“He was a big part of our team. They came in with a good financial offer and we had to look at what was best for the club. I was definitely sad to lose him but I couldn’t hold him back from making a good financial move for himself.

“Obviously, we couldn’t match the offer because we have a small budget. We won the league, Telkom Knockout (both in 2017) and MTN8 (2016) with him here. He had a good contribution for us and did well,” Hunt told Sowetan.

The Clever Boys mentor believes Mhango can do more wonders when played to his strengths.

“Gaba scored goals for us. When given a role where he can have a go at the defenders, that’s when he can do well for you as a team,” he said.

Meanwhile, an influential South African soccer publication, KickOff.com, has revealed that Mhango is a joint leading goal scorer in Africa’s top leagues.

“Looking towards the rest of the continent’s major leagues, only the Kenyan Premier League currently boasts similar numbers with AFC Leopards marksman John Makwatta also reaching the 12-goal mark. Mhango’s 10 league goals in his last eight games for Pirates has shot him towards the spotlight for the 2019/20 Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot award.

“Kaizer Chiefs’ Samir Nurkovic and AmaZulu ace Bongi Ntuli, with 10 goals each, trail the Malawi international for the prestigious honour that looks set to be a fearsome challenge this season,” reads a report released yesterday by the publication.

Mhango’s scoring form has also compelled South African legend, Siyabonga Nomvethe, to state that the 20-goal mark would be reached in the top-flight for the first time since he achieved it with now-defunct Moroka Swallows eight years ago.

With the PSL being criticised for its goal-shy nature, Nomvethe’s comments could point towards the healthy goal scoring competition that has erupted in the league.

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