Pirates downplay Mhango non-selection

Premiership

Orlando Pirates striker Gabandinho Mhango’s non-selection for the matchday squad at the club despite his good showing at the AFCON finals has been swept under the carpet.

Pirates have played in three games in three competitions this year – the league, Nedbank Cup, and CAF Confederation Cup – but Mhango has not been included in The Bucs’ matchday squad.

From Mandla Ncikazi, the Pirates coach, stating that performing at the Afcon is no guarantee to play at Pirates, the matter remains of interest to this day.

"I think this is not the time to get into why this one is not in because there are a lot of players that are not in the squad," responded Fadlu Davids on Wednesday night after being confronted about Mhango.

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Mhango was third on the tournament scoring charts with the same number of goals as Sadio Mane while taking The Flames into the last 16 for the first time but that has not been enough to earn him game time at Pirates.

The Malawian has only played less than 150 minutes with no goal this term but showed flashes of brilliance in Cameroon, which should have put him in firm contention to play at Pirates instead of being left in the heap of those returning from injuries.

"You can name Tshegofatso Mabasa, you can name Ntsiki Nyauza, who has come back from illness. There are a lot of players, (Tebogo) Tlolane who is back from injury, he is available. So, there are a lot of players fighting for their place.

"But at the moment, before this match was four matches in a row that we won, and we wanted to keep consistency.

"Yes, those players are training well, working hard and the players in the squad at the moment, the players on the pitch, in the starting line-up, are looking over their shoulder because these players keep pushing them, and that is what you want in the team.

"We just urge all our players in our squad, all of them are so valuable to Orlando Pirates and all of them are going to play a part.

"At the moment they have to work hard to get into the squad and when they do get their opportunity, we hope they can take over the baton and do better than the players playing at the moment.

"So good competition at the moment and let’s hope it can push the team further and further and when that time comes let’s hope the media can also, as we are calling for these players, support them, not just one game when we give these players a chance, and build them up and then kick them down.

"Let’s support them, let’s give them the time, their moment will come and that’s what we want, competition in the squad," says Davids.

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