Fitness issues have limited the Malawi international’s game time this season but a Buccaneers legend wants to see the player prominently featuring
Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Benedict Vilakazi says he is worried coach Josef Zinnbauer is not regularly playing forward Frank Mhango when fit.
Mhango made the difference on Saturday with his goal handing Pirates a 1-0 win over Uthongathi FC in a Nedbank Cup Last 32 match at Orlando Stadium.
It was a rare start for the forward who has managed to be in the Buccaneers line-up on seven occasions in all competitions this season due to injury.
But Vilakazi feels the Malawian, who top-scored in the Premier Soccer League last season, can drive the Soweto giants forward, especially since other strikers Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa are injured.
“Let’s not doubt Mhango’s work rate and what he can do. He showed us last season and is still showing us now,” Vilakazi told iDiski TV.
“Mhango is a player who can come up with a plan. If you have absolutely nothing, he is the kind of guy who can take out his wallet and say ‘here is R20, let’s buy bread and eat in the house.’
“Mhango is that player. So now if you sideline such a player, I’m worried about what Zinnbauer was doing.
“But I am happy that Mhango is playing. Lepasa and Mabasa are injured so he is the only striker. Play him. He is playing and he is delivering.”
With Pirates thin in the attacking department due to injuries, the only other outright striker currently available is Jean-Marc Makusu.
Makusu arrived at Pirates in November while already carrying an injury and has also not been prominently featuring, only making cameo appearances as a substitute.
That appears to have limited the Congolese forward the ability to flourish and Vilakazi is pleading for patience on Makusu, who is yet to score in five matches across all competitions.
“Not yet [seen much of Makusu]. Let’s also give him a chance. He needs to be given at least 20 minutes in every game,” said Vilakazi.
“Let’s see more of him in the game because you can’t judge him in just five minutes even though we always tell players that whether you came onto the pitch for just two minutes [show your best]. Andries Sebola used to do that. He would be introduced in the last minute of the game and would score for Pirates to win.
“Makusu is not Andries Sebola but I’m saying that whatever minutes you get on the field of play, make full use of them.”
After the Nedbank Cup triumph, Pirates now switch attention to the PSL campaign as they host Cape Town City on Tuesday.