Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer is glad to have last season’s top goal scorer, Gabadinho Mhango back in the fold but the coach has not given the striker any guarantees.
The Malawian who netted 16 times last season, endured a sluggish start to the campaign owing to a lack of confidence and injury concerns but appeared to be back to his menacing best when he scored just his second goal of the campaign against TTM in their 3-0 win on Wednesday.
The match against Tshakhuma was only Mhango’s third start for Pirates, with the forward largely been used as a sub for the Buccaneers this season.
Contributing to Mhango’s prolonged absence in the Bucs starting XI was the form of Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa, who excelled in his absence. But, with both players currently out injured, Zinnbauer has spoken on Mhango's return.
“With Gaba, you know in the first weeks of the season he was injured, and it was not so easy to come back with muscular problems and then come back into the team that were doing well,” Zinnbauer told Pirates’ media department.
“Mabasa and Lepasa were in and they always scored or assisted in the games, so it's not so easy for a striker to then just come in."
Zinnbauer has been impressed with Mhango's showing in matches and training sessions but has revealed that it won't be easy for 'Gaba' to just walk into Pirates' starting XI.
“Mabasa and Lepasa were in and they always scored or assisted in the games, so its not so easy for a striker to then just come in.
“Now he’s coming closer and closer. We feel it in his training sessions and in the games that he is getting closer. He took his chance well and I hope he comes back, we need him, but we have the other strikers also, (Terrence) Dzvukamanja and Jean-Marc (Makusu) also, who are behind him. This is good for us and good for the squad,” Zinnbauer explained.
Pirates will play their second match at the Thohoyandou Stadium in a period of four days as they take on Black Leopards.
The clash is scheduled for kick-off at 15:00 on Sunday.