Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango started his golden boot defence on a good note when he scored for Orlando Pirates in their opening South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) match on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Buccaneers hitman scored from the penalty spot when they were held to a one-all draw by Amazulu FC, the new club for his compatriot Limbikani Mzava.
Elsewhere, Richard Mbulu also scored his first PSL goal when Baroka FC opened their DStv Premiership campaign with a 2-1 win over Maritzburg United in Polokwane.
Gaba, who jointly won last season’s Golden Boot Award with Namibian Peter Shalulile after tying on 16 goals, put Pirates ahead in the 17th minute.
Natch highlights monitored on SuperSport television channel showed Gaba chose to go with power and placement, beating AmaZulu goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha.
The penalty was awarded after Sibusiso Mabiliso was adjudged to have fouled Siphesihle Ndlovu in the box.
Later on in the game, Pirates ’keeper Wayne Sandilands denied Lehlohonolo Majoro from the spot-kick, but the Usuthu striker fired home from the rebound to make it 1-1 in the 33rd minute.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Gaba said it was frustrating not to have started with a win.
He said: “Of course, I am happy to have scored in the opening match because it will boost my confidence.
“But at the same time, I am disappointed that we did not get off to a winning start.
Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer felt his side was “way too casual” after taking the lead.
“We know AmaZulu have a good team. We can’t expect to come here and get the three points for nothing. We have to work on this. For me, we had the game, we scored.
“And after we scored, we were too casual. And that was very hard for us to come back into the game,” SuperSport quoted the coach as having said.
Mzava, whose registration was finalised just hours before the match, was on the bench for the entire match.
In the match between Baroka and Maritzburg, Mbulu drew first blood in the 10th minute when he tucked from close range. Baroka doubled their advantage in the 57th minute through Nhlanhla Mgaga.
Maritzburg pulled one back in the 85th minute through Jose Ali Meza to set up a thrilling end to the game, but ultimately it proved no more than a consolation as the Limpopo hosts were able to see out the game and claim the victory.
However, Mbulu’s compatriot and Baroka FC vice-captain Gerald Phiri Jnr did not get a run.
Bloemfontein Celtic, who are coached by Malawian John Maduka, opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows.