Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango claims the team have adapted quickly to new coach Josef Zinnbauer’s system following their 1-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns in the Absa Premiership on Wednesday evening.
“I thank God, my teammates, the Orlando Pirates supporters,” Gaba, who scored the winning goal of the match, told SuperSport TV after receiving his Man of the Match accolade.
“It’s something that we planned from training because everybody was putting 150 percent effort, congrats to the team.”
The Malawian striker insists the Buccaneers are motivated by the ideas of the new coach and are on a mission to climb up the ladder.
“It’s something that he came with new system, a new plan, we just adapted quickly.
“The team know what we need because we have been suffering but now we’re trying our best, we want to catch up with.
“Credit to the fans for coming in numbers, giving the support, it’s a blessing to us as players.”
For the match, coach Zinnbauer made zero changes from the team that beat Polokwane City 4-1 last week while on the opposite side, Sundowns were without the suspended Themba Zwane while Phakamani Mahlambi was back after more than a month out injured.
Bucs missed a chance to grab an early lead after Motjeka Madisha was caught sleeping by Luvuyo Memela but the Mbekweni-born player gave a tame shot towards goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
Anele Ngcongca went inches away from opening the lead but his header hit the up right after a superb delivery from Gaston Sirino.
Pirates finally found the goal on 30 minutes when Gaba did excellently to run off Sundowns’ defensive line to meet Memela’s pass and finished coolly past Onyango.
With eight goals in the last three games, Gaba has found the best form of his life just when his team needed it the most.
After months of instability and lack of form, Pirates were in need of a catalyst to spur them ahead into the new chapter they have taken under Zinnbauer.
The Buccaneers have had to readjust in a short space of time after losing two coaches (Milutin Sredojevic and Rulani Mokwena) in a short space of time.
In stepped the former Bidvest Wits striker. The Malawian has tried to explain the reason behind his resurgence.
“Everything starts at training. I try to learn as much as possible from my teammates so that I can improve myself,” he said in an interview with the south African.com.
Those eight goals, which came in the three games Zinnbauer has been in charge, have catapulted Mhango to the top of the scoring charts where he is level with Bongi Ntuli on 10 goals in the league.
The 27-year-old has been benefitting from playing higher up on the pitch as the main striker.
It has been almost a decade since a player scored at least 20 goals in a season. Former Moroka Swallows striker Siyabonga Nomvethe was the last player in 2012 to score 20 goals.
If Mhango can use his “hot hand” properly then he could easily breach the mark this season.