“Mhango works very hard. Gaba runs and fights on the field. He works hard on the field. It is normal in football, we change the players”
GABADINHO Mhango has fired blanks in the past three league games for Orlando Pirates.
His dry spell in front of goal has seen his own fans turning against him. In fact, he was booed off by his own supporters this past weekend at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont.
The Buccaneers shared the spoils with Lamontville Golden Arrows in a 0-0 stalemate that saw Mhango being sacrificed in the second half with Tsegofatso Mabasa taking his place.
Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer defended Mhango for his poor return in front of goal.
“I like it when Gaba scores. For me, it is important to focus on all the players in the team.
“We have other players that can score. It is important that they focus. Hopefully, next week against Mamelodi Sundowns, he scores but we have other players that can also score,” Zinnbauer explained after the game on Saturday.
New lease of life
Mhango had been enjoying a rich vein of form for the Buccaneers and he has enjoyed a new lease of life under the regime of Zinnbauer. The Mozambique international had been scoring goals for fun and is currently leading the race for the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot with 14 strikes. Bongi Ntuli of AmaZulu is two goals behind him.
“Mhango works very hard. Gaba runs and fights on the field. He works hard on the field. It is normal in football, we change the players,” he added.
Although the fans jeered Mhango, Zinnbauer preferred to look at the positive side of his substitution. “No, they gave him a big round of applause. They were unhappy (with his display) and that is normal. We have to win the game and we need fresh legs to win games. When he came off the fans applauded him and there’s no problem.”
Mabasa came on for Mhango. The ex-Bloem Celtic talisman started the new season like the proverbial house on fire but faded away during the season.
“It is normal that he will be changed in other matches (just like Saturday). Mabasa is a good striker and he came on for him. Guys need minutes (in their legs) and Mabasa is on six goals (if I’m not mistaken). He is a second top-scorer in our team and it is not bad when he comes on,” Zinnbauer explained.
Pirates will face Sundowns in their next league assignment next week Wednesday.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Mhango netted the winner when the two sides met earlier in the season, therefore it goes without saying that he will be hoping to rediscover his best form when they visit Sundowns.