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The injury has limited the Malawian international’s playing time this season, but the Soweto giant’s coach feels it is time to start lining him up regularly.
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has hinted that starting forward Frank Mhango for Saturday’s special game ‘against Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld as the Buccaneers seek to get closer to the leaders of the Premier Soccer League.
Last season’s PSL joint top scorer, Mhango, started the first two league games of the current season before he was injured, and his comeback has been marked by a few cameos.
However, after lasting 90 minutes in the final Pirates game of 2020, a Caf Confederation Cup match at Sagrada Esperanca, which was the first time he completed a match this season, seems in line to start against Downs.
“Gaba [Mhango] he’s close to 100 percent and now he needs time and games. We have seven games in January and we need all the players, ”Zinnbauer said according to Sowetan Live. “Gaba is not the only important player for us, but all the players.
“We have so many attacking players. We have [Terrence] Dzvukamanja, who can also play as a forward. We have a good squad, but the important thing is that we need a good player for each and every position ”.
What increases Mhango’s chances of starting are doubts about the availability of Zakhele Lepasa, who was injured in a league game against Chippa United on December 16.
If he’s back in top shape, that would be good news for Zinnbauer, whose Pirates team was not prolific at first.
The Buccaneers have scored nine goals in seven league games, their top scorers being Vincent Pule and Tshegofatso Mabasa, who have two goals each.
Considering the magnitude of Saturday’s game and the Pirates’ scramble for goals, Mhango, who finished last season with 16 league goals, could be the solution as Zinnbauer’s men look to narrow the six-point gap between them and Sundowns.
“We know that Sundowns possibly have some of the best players on their team,” Zinnbauer continued. “They have a great, great team and we know it, and we also have a good team and it is a special game for us.”
“The sunsets are up and we are behind and, yes, we have a chance to get closer to the sunsets and get closer to the top of the table. This is important to us, but first we must have a good game and a good performance.
“If we have a good performance we will have a chance of winning the game.”
The Pirates and Sundowns last met on PSL’s biobubble in August and played for a 0-0 draw, but the Soweto giants won the reverse 1-0 in January with Mhango’s goal deciding the match.