The transition and adaptation from Big Bullets to Bloemfontein Celtic should have lasted a season, but that is too long a time for a boy who bought a promise in South Africa on a currency of goals.
On Sunday, Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango once again fulfilled his Remember My Promise name tag with a stunning leveller in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with SuperSport. In scoring in back-to-back games, Gabadinho increased his tally to six league goals in 13 matches.
In all competitions, the 22-year-old has seven goals in 14 games and on Sunday he, for the first time, played a full game. His league tally is now at par with compatriots Robert Ng’ambi and Atusaye Nyondo, who played in a barren draw at Ajax Cape Town on the same day.
Gabadinho’s impressive goals’ tally defies the fact that it is his debut season in the South Africa league where most Malawians struggle to adapt.
You would think that at Celtic he is having it easy playing under hard-to-please fiery German coach Ernst Middendorp. A faster and physical game means the diminutive Flames striker has to struggle, but how he is able to cope is amazing.
“I am a difficult coach to please. I was happy with our performance in the second-half,” Middendorp told SuperSport channel four.
On Sunday, Gabadinho played wide on the right as a second striker, behind Lerato Lamola. Every time he tried to run at defenders and dribble, he was either bundled to the ground or disposed of the ball as his first touch looked heavy.
After break, with Mame Niang having already put SuperSport ahead on three minutes, Gabadinho could not find openings in the opposition defence. With the game wearing to the quarter-hour, he hid far wide right in a deeper role.
He then came with the 79th minute spectacular. A pass was squared into his path. He squeezed in between two defenders, accelerated at panasonic speed before his weaker left foot dispatched an unstoppable thunder bolt into the near post top corner from an estimated 20 metres.
SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams could only bite his lips in frustration as the ex-Bullets boy exploded into somersaults.
In other games, Esau Kanyenda’s Polokwane City slipped down to second from the bottom after losing 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns.
In the First Division, Harry Nyirenda’s Black Leopards beat Santos 1-0 to increase their promotion prospects.