In-form Flames striker Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango says he is inspired by patriotism and works hard at South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Bidvest Wits to put Malawi on the map.
Gabadinho made the statement after yet another inspiring performance when his goal helped Wits beat Chippa United 1-0 on Tuesday evening to go top of the PSL.
The former Big Bullets striker was also named man-of-the-match and this comes on the back of yet another impressive performance when Wits beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 in a match he scored the winner and was also named the most outstanding player.
It also contributed to the firing of Celtic coach Serame Letsoaka.
Commenting on his form, the player said he is inspired by the need to put Malawi on the map.
“I do this for Malawi. I will always do,” he said.
And his secret? “Each and every game is different. We need to train more and work harder to improve ourselves.”
Yet not long ago, Mhango was regarded as a flop. He was in fact dropped from the national team for a year and was only recalled by former coach Ernest Mtawali for the World Cup qualifier against Tanzania late last year.
Now Mhango is a household name in PSL and was recently named the most sought after player by the rainbow nation’s top three teams—Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.
His move to Wits this year had lukewarm welcome from fans back home who felt he was safer at Celtic where he scored 15 goals in 46 appearances between 2013 and 2015 before a brief loan spell at Golden Arrows.
But the player then told Kickoff.com that it was necessary for him to leave.
“This was a big move for me. I needed to change teams and go where I’m likely to get a trophy, so I saw this team [Wits] has the potential to get a trophy, which we can do anytime from now,” Mhango said after his debut at Wits against Chiefs in which he was named man-of-the-match as well.
True to his word, last month Mhango won his first-ever trophy in South Africa, the MTN8 Cup.
He was named man-of-the-match in the cup’s three matches on the way to the championship.
Mhango has been shifted from his normal striker position and is operating deep from the wing, a position that he has never played before even while with his former clubs Bloemfontein Celtic and Bullets.
Wits coach Gavin Hunt, who before signing Mhango declared being his ‘big fan’, is behind this decision.
“I’ve liked him since the first time I saw him at Bloemfontein Celtic. Because he’s my kind of player‚” Hunt told Soccer Laduma after the match against Chiefs.
Former Big Bullets secretary Higger Mkandawire, who while in office in 2013 was instrumental in the player’s transfer to Celtic, said Mhango has come of age.
He said: “The Gabadinho we were watching back then in 2013 was good, but he was young and inexperienced. Now he is mature and experienced which are essential in professional football. I am thankful that what we fought for the player to move to Celtic in 2013 has borne fruit.” n