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Mhango's Afcon experience with Malawi is giving Orlando Pirates what they needed

9:35 AM EST 1/16/22
Frank Mhango, Orlando Pirates, August 2021
The former Golden Arrows, Bloemfontein Celtic and Bidvest Wits forward has played only 141 minutes for the Sea Robbers this term

Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango's brace for Malawi against Zimbabwe was good news for the Buccaneers.

Joint top goalscorer in the league two seasons back with 16, it's clear that Mhango has under-delivered for Bucs over the past season-and-a-half.

While he has had some injury problems, there was also a disciplinary issue as well as a general dip in form.

And considering this came at a time when Pirates were battling to find a fit and firing strike-force, Mhango's lack of game-time says a lot about how his stock had fallen.

However, despite his struggles at club level, Mhango has remained a talisman for his national side Malawi and made headlines with his brace in the 2-1 win over Zimbabwe at Afcon in Cameroon.

That was after he'd been forced to sit out the opening match, a 1-0 defeat to Guinea, after testing positive for Covid-19.

He took the goals against Zimbabwe very well - the first one a composed and controlled close-range volley and for the second he showed a lot of sharpness and appetite as he stole the ball off a Zimbabwe defender before coolly dinking it past the keeper for the winner.

Pirates fans, as well as the Bucs technical team, will now be looking forward to see how he performs against mighty Senegal in Malawi's final group game, on Tuesday.

Should he again play well, the hope for Bucs will be that Mhango can bring back to the PSL the form and confidence he has enjoyed at Afcon. It would almost be like having a new player.

The thing with the Pirates attack, the talent is there. But the problem is that not everyone has been firing on all cylinders at the same time.

Just before the Christmas break, it was Kwame Peprah and Thembinkosi Lorch who were on song. Prior to that, someone like Deon Hotto had enjoyed some good moments and overall has probably been Bucs' best attacking threat this season.

Imagine what a Pirates attack comprised of an on-form and confident Hotto, Mhango, Lorch and Peprah would look like?

Full of pace and skill, they would be a handful for any defence and at the least would give Bucs a decent shot at some silverware, be it in the Nedbank Cup or in the Caf Confederation Cup.