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Opinion: More woes for Mhango at Pirates?

Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango will be hoping to get a run against Ittihad in the last group game of the CAF Confederation Cup on Sunday. 

Pirates have already booked their spot in the quarter-finals with a match to spare, although they still need to avoid defeat against the Libyan outfit to guarantee finishing at the top of their group.

Mhango's exclusion in the Buccaneers line-up has set tongues wagging after an outstanding Africa Cup of Nations campaign with Malawi in January. 

However, the return of Zakhele Lepasa from a long-term injury has made things tough for the Malawian, who has continued to be overlooked. 

Mhango's continued lack of game time could get worse, as Pirates are reportedly close to welcoming back Vincent Pule, also from a long-term injury.

Pule has been out of action since October last year after getting injured warming up for Bafana Bafana in the World Cup qualifier match against Ethiopia

The tricky winger was expected to return to training last month but had a set back, as he broke down again and at the time co-coach Fadlu Davids confirmed that he should be able to return in April the latest.

"He was very close to coming back but had a slight setback, so a cautious approach is now what is needed for him to pass his minimal standards in relation to his rehabilitation and hopefully we’ll have him back, I don’t want to put my head on the block, (but) by April or late March,” Davids said, per Soccer Laduma

According to the aforesaid article, Pule has resumed full training with the rest of the squad and could be in contention to make the team that will play against Sekhukhune United in the DStv Premiership next Wednesday. 

Pule's return, once fit enough to start, will give Pirates extra attacking options. In particular, Deon Hotto could be used more as a striker or a false nine often, since he may not have to occupy the left wing position in the Bafana Bafana winger's absence.

And that would potentially push Mhango further down the striking pecking order, that already includes Kwame Peprah, Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa ahead of him.

Pirates supporters who have been calling for the return of Mhango in the team will have an opportunity to voice their grievances in the stands after the Soweto giants announced that fans will be able to attend their CAF Confederation Cup game against Al-Ittihad at Orlando Stadium on Sunday. 

By Thato Bosoga 

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Gabadinho Mhango Orlando Pirates Pule Vincent Pule Zakhele Lepasa

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