Update On Gabdinho’s Future At Pirates

Lorenz Kohler
January 26, 2022

Malawi talisman Gabadinho Mhango whose contract was set to expire at the end of the season has seen his one-year option activated by Orlando Pirates

Mhango, 29, joined Pirates from the now-defunct Bidvest Wits in July 2019 and enjoyed a spectacular debut season, scoring 16 league goals in 23 starts as he won the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot award.

However, he’s since scored only six goals in 40 games across all competitions and headed to the Africa Cup of Nations with the Flames with just 132 minutes of DStv Premiership action under his belt from the 2021/22 season.

But he’s defied the odds of what appeared to be a lack of fitness to be one of the stars at the competition with three goals including a remarkable 40-yard stunner in the last-16 clash against Morocco which they ultimately lost 2-1.

Only Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar (6) has scored more goals than the Pirates striker so far and he could well continue his journey at the Soweto giants, despite seemingly falling out of favour over the past few months.

“Pirates have exercised his option so he will continue with them [until 2023],” his agent Mike Makaab confirmed to iDiski Times.

“What’s important without going into too much detail, is that I think he let himself down with his performances after such a fantastic previous season.

“He acknowledges that. He’s brave enough to. He’s man enough to acknowledge that, you can’t blame that club at all, Gaba knows – but he’s a quality player, he’s a really top-class player. AFCON has shown what a really good striker he is.

“It’s my belief, not hope, that this will be the catalyst for us to see what Gaba is really capable of doing and I think he can really grow from the fantastic season he had at Pirates previously.”

With Mhango turning 30 in September this year, Makaab feels the factor of age won’t hinder potential interest from Europe after a stunning showing in Cameroon this month.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him back in action but he’s going to have to work his socks off like every other player, who wants to make the grade. I don’t think it’s too late for him to ply his trade in Europe,” he continued.

“Age has become insignificant when it comes to transfers, it depends on his performances and he’s in a position, playing as a front-man, where when you do well, it’s seen – unlike a defender or a hard-working midfielder. 

“Sometimes you only see what they do when you look at stats and really analyse them. But a striker when he’s banging in the goals, everybody takes notice. So I think Gaba will bounce back and we’ll see the real Mhango when he gets back to South Africa.

“When we brought him to South Africa from Malawi, we always thought in our heart he was a bit special and it’s just now up to him to convert that brilliance into consistency. He needs to work harder and he knows that.”

Mhango has racked up 54 goals and registered 10 assists in 165 games in the South African top-flight with Pirates, Wits, Bloemfontein Celtic and Golden Arrows respectively.

Story by Lorenz Kohler (@Lorenz_KO).

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