espite not scoring in Thursday’s match against Guinea, Flames hitman Frank Gabadinho Mhango still leads the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers’ Group D scorers chart.
The South Africa-based forward claimed a brace and had one denied for off-side against Ethiopia’s Walia Ibex in Malawi’s opening fixture last Sunday at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
Five others, namely, Ethiopia’s Abubaker Nasiri Ahmed, Dawa Hotessa and Shimelis Bekele, Guinea’s Naby Keita, who plays for English Premiership outfit Liverpool and Egypt’s Mostafa Mohamed, have a goal each.
In an interview yesterday, Mhango admitted that he did not rise to the occasion against Guinea.
He said: “It was just one of those bad days, I would have loved to score, but things just didn’t go according to plan and it happens in football.”
Former Flames coach Kinnah Phiri, who is Malawi’s all-time leading scorer, said Mhango has risen to become Flames’ talisman.
He said: “But it is not a healthy situation because in the event that Gaba is marked out of the game as was the case on Thursday, then it creates a problem.
“So, the other strikers should also stand up and be counted. The midfield also needs to be creative enough so that the strikers are able to get chances.”
Ironically, apart from scoring both the Flames goals in this campaign so far, Mhango also netted all the three goals for the Flames at the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon in January where he finished as third leading scorer with three goals.
All four teams in the group now have three points each after the opening two rounds of fixtures, but Ethiopia top the group courtesy of a better goal difference while the Flames are second, Guinea are third with Egypt anchoring the group.