Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango’s disappearance from the starting line-up still remains baffling, especially to the Bucs faithful after his fantastic showing in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon in January.
The Malawian international has only featured once for the Buccaneers after the tournament, as a substitute in the CAF Confederation Cup match against Al Ittihad in Libya where the Buccaneers were zapped 3-2.
Mhango may have scored three beautiful goals in Cameroon but the club is reiterating its stance that Mhango, just like other players, must fight for his position.
“One fundamental decision is that the coaches work with the players and that the coaches’ decision is final. And we must respect that. If you remember Mhango was not a regular before the Afcon. Coach Mandla [Ncikazi] explained and addressed the issue but the media were too quick to crucify and criticise him before they could interpret what he was saying,” said Pirates’ high-ranking official Floyd Mbele.
He was alluding to Ncikazi’s comment that the PSL is bigger than Afcon, when he was quizzed why Mhango was not in the team.
“The media did not interpret what Mandla was saying, they just went for the headlines. He was explaining that the other three PSL players who played in the Afcon were not regulars at their clubs and that maybe the competition in the PSL teams is higher than the competition in some teams at Afcon. There is no administration issue with the player, it’s just technical staff and coaches matter and a question of the player having to fight for his position, just like other players in the team. If we tell the coach to play a certain player, then we will be accused of interfering. The coaches decide,” said Mbele.
Two months ago, Bucs assistant coach Fadlu Davids was widely quoted saying that there are selection criteria all the players must meet.
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