Revitalised Flames forward Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango basked in the global limelight on Tuesday night — with some media outlets of repute pitting his 40-metre superb strike against Morocco as a potential goal of the tournament.
His romantic flirtation with the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) reached new dizzying heights at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The 29-year-old was feted like a king yesterday, by a football world hungry for goals of the archives.
The beauty of it lay in the execution, he curled a sweet right foot shot with precision, giving Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou not a prayer.
There was no hint of nerves, no panic. It was a strike of utter beauty, the stuff that dreams are made of.
SkySports screamed: ‘That’s unbelievable!’ Malawi’s 40 yard wonder goal!’
British tabloid, The Sun’s report, reads in part: “Mhango scores a goal you have never seen at the tournament.”
The Irish Sun’s headline screamed: ‘Lift of the Gab’.
And part of its report reads: “Gabadinho Mhango swerved an outrageous 40-yard opener as minnows Malawi went down fighting at Afcon.
“The Orlando Pirates striker scorched a goal any player would be proud of before Morocco roared back to reach the quarter-finals with a 2-1 win.
“It was the latest and greatest moment of high drama at an eventful tournament.
“And Malawi players and fans went crazy at Mhango’s magical intervention.
“The 29-year-old spun inside from the left in the seventh minute and curved a fierce right-footer into the far top corner.
The ball veered in from way outside the right post, bypassing the outstretched arms of backpedalling Morocco ‘keeper Bounou on its way into the stanchion.
Another popular British publication, The Guardian, reported in part: “Gabadinho Mhango put underdogs Malawi ahead with a long-range jaw-dropper.”
Another British tabloid, The Daily Mail also waxed lyrical about the Flames talisman: “Malawi went ahead early after a world class goal from Frank Mhango, who hit a speculative right-footed effort from some 40 metres out and watched in delight as the swerving ball caught out Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou and crashed into the top of the net.”
On whether he had proved a point after being reduced to a sideshow at Pirates, Mhango said: “I was not here to prove a point to anyone. I was here to serve my nation and make it proud. Unfortunately, we didn’t go as far as we would have loved, but I am sure we left a mark.
“It was all about having fun.”
As of yesterday, he was second on the score sheet with three goals from three matches, three goals short of Cameroon talisman and captain Vincent Aboubaker.