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Coach says Mhango should leave Bucs, questions why Afcon was ‘belittled’

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Orlando Pirates overcame their first hurdle in the Nedbank Cup with a 1-0 win over AmaZulu in the Round of 32 at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday. However, Mhango was conspicuous by his absence considering the striker had impressed for Malawi at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

WATCH: PITSO HITS OUT AT AFCON, FIFA CLUB WORLD CUP OVERLAP

After the Nedbank Cup clash, Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi controversially suggested the DStv Premiership is “bigger” than Afcon after explaining the omission of the 29-year-old.

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Ncikazi provided further details into the reason for not picking Mhango

“Pirates are a big team,” coach Ncikazi said when asked about Mhango’s exclusion, as quoted by KickOff. “You’ve got strikers, Mhango being one of them, you’ve got [Zakhele] Lepasa, you’ve got [Tshegofatso] Mabasa who was not part of the team, you have [Kwame] Peprah, so it is a galaxy of strikers.

“Maybe the choice, with respect, the choice at Pirates [was to consider] players who have been preparing for the past weeks whereas Mhango just came back. We know he is a good player so it’s not because anything is wrong with him, it’s just competition.

“Currently, we chose to go with Peprah and Lepasa. He will get his opportunity in due course, he just has to work hard like other players. Mabasa was not part of the team, he couldn’t make the 20 despite being a top player, being a player who is part of the national team.

“So, Mhango will wait like all other players. We recognise and acknowledge his performance at the Afcon but maybe the league in South Africa is bigger than the Afcon, but that is a question for another day.”

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Malawi assistant coach Meck Mwase has now responded to the comments by suggesting Mhango should eye a transfer away from the club.

“He must not challenge the coach but continue working hard,” Mwase told Malawi Times. “It will be good if he can switch teams. It is unfortunate that the coach is belittling Afcon when South Africa didn’t qualify.”

These views were echoed by Malawi’s National Coaches Association Chairperson Aubrey Nankhuni.

“It just shows that some officials do not want him at Pirates. This was a time to get the best out of him,” Nankhuni said.

“The best Gaba [Mhango] can do is to continue working hard and, at the same time, request his manager to secure him a move, even if it be a loan move.”

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