There was a buzz on social media yesterday among South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants Orlando Pirates supporters as they welcomed Malawi’s red-hot striker Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango.
Pirates, also known as the Buccaneers, announced they had signed the former Nyasa Big Bullets player from Bidvest Wits, beating rivals Kaizer Chiefs, who were also keen to take on board the 2019 Cosafa Cup joint golden boot awardee.
“Orlando Pirates Football Club can confirm that it has reached an agreement with Bidvest Wits for the services of forward Gabadinho Mhango.
“The 26-year-old Malawian international will undergo a medical tomorrow and join his new teammates for the afternoon training session.
“Orlando Pirates Football Club would like to thank Wits’ management for the professional manner that these negotiations were conducted,” reads a statement from the club.
Earlier Pirates had posted a teaser on their website and other social media handles Tweeter and Facebook on their intention to unveil a new signing.
“He plays for his national team, but is not in Egypt. He is an attacking player. He is right-footed but his left isn’t bad either. He is a South African citizen. He has scored a few times against Pirates but will soon be a Buccaneer. Who is he?” the teaser read.
The post created confusion as Gaba was referred to as a South African citizen.
But when the club finally announced that it was Gaba, thousands of Pirates supporters welcomed the pint-sized forward.
“We need this guy to help us score goals and I know him…he can’t miss clear chances,” tweeted Phologe Moss Mampuru, a Pirates diehard.
“A great finisher exactly what we need,” tweeted Sakhile Ntombela, another Bucanneer.
“I wanted this player two seasons ago, he is a finisher, sharp inside the box. He will score more than 35 goals,” said Edia AL-Rashid Moraba.
Another Pirates supporter Ezekiel Guendouzi said the club had picked a good choice to sign Gaba because of his capabilities to fit on a number of attacking roles.
“He can play as a striker, attacking midfielder and left or right winger that’s great. What a bargain!” he said.
But Mhango’s signing also left Pirates rivals Chiefs foaming with anger after they failed to convince Wits to sell them the striker.
Though Gaba only made 13 appearances for Wits in all competitions last season, he was a star at the recent Cosafa Cup.
South Africa-based Malawian Suzgo Nyirenda, who is also Cosafa deputy chief executive officer, said he was proud that the Cosafa Championship had helped Gaba get the Pirates deal.
He said: “I saw it coming. Chiefs were after him and his performance at the just ended Cosafa Cup swayed the top teams here and I knew it was a matter of time. Gaba is a fantastic player and if he keeps the performance he showed at Cosafa tournament, then he will make it at Pirates.
“However, there will be tremendous pressure on him considering that Pirates has a big supporters base which puts pressure on players to perform. He has the talent and he is goal-hungry and this is what Pirates need after missing out in the PSL last season.”