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Mhango and Ncikazi fallout: Orlando Pirates avoiding being accused of interference - Mbele

18:17 EAT 10/04/2022
Frank Mhango, Orlando Pirates, August 2021
The experienced football administrator pointed out that there is no administrative issue with the 2019/20 PSL Golden Boot award winner

Orlando Pirates have broken their silence regarding Mandla Ncikazi's comments about the Afcon finals and explained why the club won't instruct the coach to field Frank Mhango.  

The Malawi international was one of the standout performers during the 2021 Afcon group stage in Cameroon, but upon his return to Pirates, he found it difficult it break into the Soweto giants' starting line-up let alone the matchday squad.

When attempting to explain why Mhango did not feature in a Nedbank Cup match against AmaZulu FC on February 6, Ncikazi stated that the Premier Soccer League is perhaps bigger than the Afcon finals and this claim caused a massive stir after seemingly belittling the continental tournament and the highly-rated player. 

However, Pirates' administrative manager Floyd Mbele has defended Ncikazi as he feels that the media was quick to slam Ncikazi without interpreting what he meant in his statement.

“One fundamental decision is that the coaches work with the players and that the coaches’ decision is final. And we must respect that," Mbele told Sunday World

"If you remember Mhango was not a regular before the Afcon. Coach Mandla [Ncikazi] explained and addressed the issue but the media were too quick to crucify and criticise him before they could interpret what he was saying,” 

“The media did not interpret what Mandla was saying, they just went for the headlines," the former Platinum Stars chief executive officer continued. 

"He was explaining that the other three PSL players who played in the Afcon were not regulars at their clubs and that maybe the competition in the PSL teams is higher than the competition in some teams at Afcon."

Mhango has made just two competitive appearances for Bucs since the turn of the year and Mbele made it clear that they cannot instruct Ncikazi and his fellow co-coach Fadlu Davids to field the player as they would be accused of interference. 

"There is no administration issue with the player, it’s just technical staff and coaches matter and a question of the player having to fight for his position, just like other players in the team," he added. 

"If we tell the coach to play a certain player, then we will be accused of interfering. The coaches decide."