Hunt at wits’ end over Mhango
DURBAN – Orlando Pirates talisman, Gabadinho Mhango, is dreaded by opposition defences and has left a trail of destruction on his way to taking over as the leading goalscorer this season.
His shooting skills, strength and uncanny ability to shield the ball has set him apart, easily making him the favourite to walk away with the Golden Boot award before the season was halted by the coronavirus outbreak.
His former boss at Bidvest Wits, Gavin Hunt, is still regretting the departure of the Malawian almost a season after he left the Students. Mhango joined Pirates from Wits at the start of the current term.
He settled quickly with the Buccaneers and is leading the race for the Absa Premiership Golden Boot gong.
“Gabadinho? He is a big loss, big loss. We had financial problems at the beginning of the season. A lot of staff retrenched and that type of thing. Obviously, we needed to balance the books. Do you think I didn’t want to keep him? Oh, yes, I wanted to keep him. With all his moods and stuff, I would have kept him."
"He is a guy that can score you goals. He has got goals in him and he can play across the front, right, left and centre. But how you keep him motivated for a period of six to 12 months, is obviously the secret. He’s got it,” said Hunt.
Mhango started the season like a house on fire but seemingly hit a speed hump before the coronavirus halted the Premier Soccer League (PSL) action. Despite his barren run, Mhango was still at the summit of the top goal scorers' list with 14 strikes.
“He was a huge loss to me, but I’m not the boss. Would you have him in your team, yes, I can have him tomorrow. Right now, this season, if we had him we would win the league. That’s the bottom line because he would have got us seven or eight goals already. In our team, we’ve got one striker who has one goal in 26 games. The other one has four or five. That’s been a problem for us. If Mhango was there, you never know, we would have certainly had more goals,” Hunt added.
He described Mhango as a difficult character to manage.
“When we signed him, he was one of those free signings. Before I signed him, I spoke to Clinton Larsen and Steve Komphela. They worked with him (at Bloemfontein Celtic) before he came to Wits and they said, 'you got to tear your hair out with this guy, he will kill you'. I said, okay, I’ve had plenty of them but if he can score me a lot of goals and keep him for a year or two, we will see where we can go."
"He came in and won four man of the match awards. I thought, yes, I’ve hit the jackpot here. Three or four weeks later, I said oh, I can see what they are talking about. You could just see the drop off at training. The running, the pressing and the desire to wanna get into the box. I understood what Steve and Clinton said about him,” Hunt explained.
Mhango has been a pillar of strength for the Buccaneers in front of goals. But the likes of Bongi Ntuli, Bradley Grobler, Peter Shalulile and Knox Mutizwa are breathing down his neck in the race for the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot. Maybe, the break will rejuvenate Mhango to return reinvigorated. That is if the action resumes.@Minenhlecr7