Like a sneak thief, Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango ghosted in to intercept a back pass. In a flash, he dropped his shoulders as if he was firing on the near post. He then clipped the ball with the deftest of touches, to give it flight and just enough power, for it to nestle into the middle of the goal.
No panic, no fuss, job done.
Just like that, it was done and delivered—scoring in his official debut for his new club Orlando Pirates against his former club Bloemfontein Celtic in their opening 2019/20 Premier Soccer League match.
The beauty of it all was that Gabadinho had just been on the pitch for six minutes after being thrown in as a substitute, but it was enough to announce his arrival as a Bucaneer as he sealed his team’s 3-1 victory.
He flashed the ghost sign to Pirates fans who responded with a standing ovation.
“For me, it was a dream start. I needed to make an impression because it is not easy to break into a big team like Pirates. So, yes, I am excited and I hope I can take it up from there.
“During training, the coach [Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic] has been telling me that he wants goals from me and it could not have come at a better time than in my first league match,” he said in an interview yesterday.
Pirates drew first blood in the fifth minute through Augustine Mulenga, but Mzwanele Mahashe levelled the scores with five minutes to recess.
Innocent Maela headed in the second for Pirates in the 26th minute before Gabadinho sealed the victory in the 78th minute
Gabadinho joined the Sea Robbers from Bidvest Wits on a three-year deal during pre-season.
Meanwhile Gerald Phiri Jnr was thrown late into the match as his new side Baroka FC played out a two-all draw with Cape Town City. However, his compatriot Richard Mbulu did not get a run as he is reportedly awaiting a work permit.