Malawi might have produced football legends such as Esau Kanyenda, Joseph Kamwendo, Ernest Mtawali, John Maduka and Peter Mponda who left an indelible mark in the South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL) annals.
But none none of them came close to winning the coveted Golden Boot Award.
However, all that changed yesterday as football history was rewritten after Flames striker Frank Gabadinho Mhango became the first Malawian to win the award with 16 after a tie with Highlands Park Namibian striker Peter Shalulile.
But this feat did not come on a silver platter as Gaba had endured 13 years wait before breaking the record.
Gaba has endured all in the PSL since 2013 when he joined Bloemfontein Celtic, a club that signed him after Amazulu and Free State Stars felt he was not good enough.
But the former Nyasa Big Bullets star proved his clout, scoring 15 goals in his debut season at Celtic, missing the golden boot by a whisker.
He went on to shine after moving to Golden Arrows in 2015 where he is remembered for having netted four goals against Cape Town City in 2016.
His greatest achievement before the 2019/20 golden boot came after he moved to Bidvest Wits where he was instrumental in the club’s first ever PSL championship and MTN8 in 2017 and Telekom Knockout.
But Gaba went from hero to villain after a spitting incident which earned him a six-match ban and bruised relationship with his coach Gavin Hunt who condemned him to the bench for the rest of the season.
Deprived of game time, Gaba ended up frustrated and was only happy when Hunt agreed to off-load him.
However, the player would revive his career at 2018 Cosafa Cup where his impressive showing saw him finishing joint top-goal scorer with compatriot Gerald Phiri Jnr, prompting Pirates to snap him up, beating rivals Kaizer Chiefs to the race for his signature.
At Pirates he did not take time to settle down as he fitted well with the Buccaneers’ German coach Josef Zinnbauer’s attack machinery, netting 14 goals before the league was brought to a standstill due to Covid-19 pandemic in March.
Though the long break disrupted his rhythm as he went five games without scoring, his lone against Maritzburg FC revived his golden boot race.
But Gaba then netted the goal that would earn him the golden boot in the 47th minute as he left-footed a rebound from a move he started on the left side.
Shalulile on the other hand needed 88th minute penalty to match Gaba’s clout as his side drew 1-1 with Amazulu.
“I thank my teammates for their support. Without them it was not going to be possible,” Gaba said after the match.