Orlando Pirates

Afcon 2021: 'No one can stop Mhango' - Ng'ambi backs Malawi star despite Orlando Pirates struggles

22:25 EAT 29/12/2021
Frank Mhango, Orlando Pirates, August 2021
GOAL spoke to the former Platinum Stars playmaker, who was part of the Flames squad at the 2010 Afcon

Ex-Malawi international Robert Ng'ambi has backed his former Flames teammate Frank Mhango ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

The Orlando Pirates striker has been included in Malawi's Flames squad for the continental tournament despite having struggled with both injuries and form this season.

Mhango, who made his international debut for Malawi in 2012, has featured in six matches across all competitions for Bucs this season and failed to score in the process. 

"I don't think his form will be a problem for the team because he has been playing at an international level for quite some time now," Ng'ambi told GOAL

"I think with his experience as well it will help because you need such players, who have been playing at internationals for a long period of time. 

"You need them to help the newcomers at this level. They [senior players like Mhango] also have to lead by example with their performances on the pitch."

Mhango is part of the Malawi squad in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where they are holding their training camp ahead of the showpiece which will be staged in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6. 

"One of the reasons why they are in camp right now is to ensure that players like him regain their form during the preparations for the tournament," Ng'ambi, who won the MTN8 title and Telkom Knockout Cup with Platinum Stars, said. 

"So with time, he will get back to his normal form."

The 29-year-old scored the only goal of the match as Malawi defeated South Sudan 1-0 in the 2021 Afcon qualifier in November 2019 and he has over 10 goals for the Flames.

Malawi head coach Mario Marinica has picked three South Africa-based strikers in Mhango, Khuda Muyaba and Richard Mbulu of Baroka FC. Ng'ambi is pleased with the Romanian tactician's selection.  

"I think all three strikers are good. They offer different qualities. you look at Richard Mbulu, his work rate is very good," the former Black Leopards captain said. 

"Look at Muyaba, based on his form, he has been scoring goals for Polokwane City and he has grabbed a hat-trick and a brace [in the National First Division]."

"Look at Mhango when it comes to one-no-one situations, no one can stop him. So, all three strikers are good," the Rumphi-born retired attacking midfielder added. 

"So, it depends on what the technical team or coaches want in terms of who they want to combine upfront or who to start in attack. For me, all three strikers are very good."

Malawi, who will be making their third appearance in the Afcon finals, are in Group B along with Senegal, Guinea and Zimbabwe.