South Africa-based forward Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango has almost hit 100 000 votes for the Carling Black Label Cup contest which features his club Orlando Pirates and their rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
With five days before the latest episode of the Soweto derby, the Malawian forward continues to lead the votes for Pirates followed by Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Ofori on just under 90 000 and striker Zakhele Lepasa nearing 90 000.
Although he struggled last season, scoring just six goals, the 28-year-old remains a darling of the Buccaneers’ faithful.
In an interview from his Johannesburg base yesterday, Mhango said he is looking forward to the Soweto derby.
He said: “The fans have been a great inspiration and to get the highest number of votes, considering the quality players we have at Pirates, is humbling.
“We have been in camp for three weeks now and I can’t wait to get started.”
With so much excitement around the Carling Black Label Cup which makes a return after a year’s absence, fans are encouraged to make their voices heard, as voting is set to close at midnight today.
The pre-season showdown is scheduled for this Sunday at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg with fans for the first time since the competition’s inception in 2011 not allowed.
On the other hand, Itumeleng Khune’s popularity amongst fans remains undisputed as he leads the votes for Chiefs.
The veteran Bafana Bafana keeper has the highest number of votes from both clubs, having surpassed the 172 000-mark as of last Wednesday.
Chiefs forward Samir Nurkovic is in second place with just under 170 000 votes.
According to KickOff.com, also up in the top-three bracket, despite coming off the back of a disappointing season, is Khama Billiat, who scored just twice through an injury-ravaged campaign.
The Zimbabwe international is the only other player into six digits at Chiefs and is nearing 110 000.