At long last. There is now light at the end of the tunnel for South Africa-based Malawian forward Frank Gabadinho Mhango who has mutually agreed to part ways with his club Orlando Pirates.
The 29-year old, who has been reduced to a sideshow at the Buccaneers, disclosed in a telephone interview yesterday that the club has agreed to release him at the end of the season.
He said: “We had a meeting recently and both parties agreed by mutual consent to part ways.”
“It is a huge relief to me because I was hardly enjoying game time.
“It has been a stressful season for me and I can’t wait to move on and, hopefully, this will be a new dawn for my career.”
The Flames marksman said his manager Mike Makaab is working on finding him a club.
Said the former Bidvest Wits, Lamontiville Golden Arrows and Umtata Bush Bucks forward: “He told me that there are a few clubs that he is talking to and we are having another meeting today [yesterday] for an update.
“So, that’s where we are and I am just waiting to see what will come up at the end of the season.”
However, South African online media has been awash with reports linking the striker to another top South African club Kaizer Chiefs as well as an unnamed club in the Swedish top-flight league.
Mhango also said since Pirates exercised an option to extend his contract just before the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals, they are most likely to sell him.
On whether his sidelining had anything to do with off-field incidents that were reported in South African tabloids, he said: “Of course, there were issues, but they were blown out of proportion.
“I have been training hard…I have been outstanding during training, but surprisingly, the coaches have been ignoring me and there is nothing I can do about it. It could be something personal, I really don’t know.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said the development is good for the player’s career.
He said: “First and foremost, it’s about time because he has been unfairly treated at Pirates.
“He is not being given game time and the best for him to grow his career is to part ways with the club and look for greener pastures.
“Gaba is at the peak of his career and he needs to make the most of it by actively playing so that he can maximise his earnings.
“It would also help the national cause because he is our top striker. “
The FAM president said he does not think Mhango was highly valued at Pirates.
“I have no doubt that a lot of clubs will be scrambling for him based on his performance at Afcon finals now that Pirates have come out in the open,” he said.
Some former players and commentators, including South African football legends Katlego Mphela and Bennedict Vilakazi expressed surprise that Mhango is not being featured despite his stellar performance at the Afcon finals where he finished as third leading scorer with three goals, including a beauty against Morocco which was dubbed Goal of the Tournament.
However, Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi said the former Nyasa Big Bullets striker’s outstanding performance was no guarantee for a place in the Pirates starting line-up, sentiments that drew wrath from some quarters including Pirates fans.
Mhango has featured in only five league matches for the Buccaneers this season with just two starts to his name and has moved down the pecking order under co-coaches Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids.