Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango maybe struggling to get game time at the club, but he had no such struggles for Malawi.
Mhango, a stalwart for Malawi only missed one game due to illness at Afcon but was on song for the Flames during their campaign.
Malawi coach made controversial move
Despite a preparation period that was somewhat marred by a bit of controversy, when new Malawian coach Mario Marinică left another key player Gerald Phiri Jr out, they still beat the odds. Mhango had arguably become their only real marquee player at the tournament, and his goals went and led the team to a round of 16 finish at the showpiece hosted in Cameroon.
Mhango did not disappoint during that tournament, scoring one of the goals of the campaign. That goal not only gave Malawi hope of going even further, but also gave the forward hope that he would get a chance to play at Pirates, upon his return to South African shores. He is, however, yet to feature in either of the Buccaneers games in the Nedbank Cup or the CAF Confederations Cup.
But Mhango would’ve been delighted at just the opportunity to play football again, and his efforts, as well as those of his teammates were certainly appreciated in Malawi.
Mhango speaks on their AFCON campaign
“Everyone was happy with the team. When we went there, we went as underdogs and people were not expecting much from us – but as players we knew what we went there for, to represent our country and to make our people proud. When we returned to Malawi, everyone back home was very happy. It was like history for the national team because it was the first time Malawi reached the next phase (Last 16) .” Mhango said of his side’s exploits to Sunday World.
Mhango would then go on to confirm the reward that they received from the Malawian government upon their return.
Confirms big gift!
“Yes, it is true that we were rewarded with a piece land in Malawi. To me, and that’s a very nice gesture because land is a long-term investment – money can be finished in a short space of time,” Mhango concluded.
It remains to be seen when Mhango will play for Pirates again, but with such great form, it would be hard for any coach to continue to ignore him.