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Davids on Mhango: How Orlando Pirates select strikers to start

15:17 GMT 07/03/2022
Frank Mhango, Orlando Pirates, August 2021
The Malawi international has been struggling to play this season in what has left the Buccaneers coaches with questions to answer

Orlando Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids has explained why striker Frank Mhango has not been playing despite the Soweto giants not having a regular goalscorer.

The Pirates coach was not keen to discuss Mhango but was pressed to answer about the striker's omission, a question he has previously been forced to respond to.

Without directly pointing a finger at Mhango, Davids raised the issue of discipline as well as stiff competition while explaining their criteria in choosing strikers.

The Malawi international did not even make it to the bench for last weekend’s Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs.

“No, I don’t think it’s fair to talk about Gabadinho Mhango again, in relation to our strikers,” said Davids as per Sowetan Live.

“And you talk about [Boitumelo] Radiopane, [Tshegofatso] Mabasa, Mhango, [Terrence] Dzvukamanja, [Zakhele] Lepasa and [Kwame] Peprah.

“At the moment Peprah has scored in the last match and it’s healthy competition. Lepasa, has done well whenever he has come on. Dzvukamanja in the last second of the derby should have scored. Mhango, Radiopane, Mabasa are working extremely hard to push and get themselves not only into the team but the starting line-up.

“In relation to team selection, there are various aspects you look at. First, are you coming to training? Are you punctual in relation to being at training, and not having disciplinary issues that take you out of training?

“Tick the first box. Then it’s in relation to your performance in training. How you exert yourself in training, how you perform. And then trying to find the right balance in the line-up. And coming back to my first point, that is about us finding the right possibilities now that we suddenly have [six strikers].

“In the first round we did not have Gabadinho Mhango, Mabasa was struggling with injuries, Lepasa was not available, Peprah was adapting to the SA game in relation to the physicality and style. Radiopane is having his first season in the PSL, and we’re integrating him in certain matches and seeing the huge potential he has.”

Mhango has managed just four Premier Soccer League appearances this season and has started just two of them.

Of Pirates’ strikers, only Peprah is among their top goalscorers with six strikes in all competitions while defender Bandile Shandu and winger Deon Hotto also have the same number of goals.

“So each player has their role to play. And it’s about us finding that moment and chemistry, whether it’s with two strikers, or one striker and three No.10s, or three running beyond the striker,” Ncikazi said.

“And like I said last week, it’s up to us coaches to try to find a way. Now suddenly where we have six strikers available, is it a moment to change and have two strikers in and four out?

“Those are the things we’re trying to work on to find which is the best chemistry in terms of is it two strikers, what type of strikers; do you want one who can hold up and one more mobile, one dropping into to the pickets, one who shoots from distance?”

Pirates now prepare to take on Marumo Gallants in the Nedbank Cup of Round of 16 on Wednesday.