8 goals, 5 games: Unpacking Mhango’s net-bulging exploits

2020-02-10 08:30

Orlando Pirates’ hotshot Gabadinho Mhango has not only earned himself instant hero status at the Soweto powerhouse, but his goal-scoring exploits have not been achieved in local football since 2012.

With his feat of eight goals in five successive matches between December 21 and January 18, Mhango equalled the best-scoring sequence record set by Siyabonga “Bhele” Nomvethe for Moroka Swallows eight years ago.

Nomvethe’s eight goals in a run of four matches towards the end of the 2011/12 season catapulted Swallows to a second-place finish, and the veteran striker scooped four major individual awards to cap a remarkable season.

Before Bhele, another former Swallows striker, James Chamanga, netted eight goals in three consecutive games in the 2007/08 campaign. The former Zambian striker went on to claim the top-scorer award.

Mhango's excellence could result in his winning this season's top-scorer gong

Astonishingly, Mhango has scored 10 of his 14 goals in the seven games that have been overseen by new Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer, who took over the reins in December.

The 27-year-old Malawian international bagged a brace in Bucs’ 2-1 win away at Chippa United to preserve his position as the league’s leading scorer.

His first-half goals took Pirates to a season high – second spot – on the Absa Premiership log. The game at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth also resulted in Mhango receiving his fourth yellow card of the season, meaning the former Bidvest Wits striker’s one-match ban has halted an amazing scoring run.

He will miss the Nedbank Cup Last 32 clash against the Clever Boys at Orlando Stadium this afternoon.

Mhango’s double last weekend was the second time he grabbed a brace in the campaign, and he is one of three players to have scored a hat-trick so far, with Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs and Polokwane City’s Charlton Mashumba doing the same.

Mhango recently said his target “was to reach more than 15 goals”, and his excellence so far could result in his winning this season’s top-scorer gong.

He has already scored against all the teams in the top five, except for SuperSport United.

This is the same player who once scored all four goals coming off the bench for Golden Arrows in their 4-1 win over Mpumalanga Black Aces in April 2016.

Despite his modest aim this season, “Gaba” needs just six goals to match Nomvethe’s 20-goal mark, a feat only attained by three players since the formation of the PSL in 1996/97.

Wilfred Mugeyi scored 22 goals for Bush Bucks in the inaugural season; Pollen Ndlanya scored 21 for Chiefs in 1998/99; and Collins Mbesuma scored 25 for Chiefs in the 2004/05 season.

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February 23 2020