Frank ‘Gabadhinho’ Mhango struck three times as clinical Malawi defeated a young Angola side at their opening Group B game at the COSAFA Castle Cup in Namibia on Sunday.
Angola played a largely Under-20 team and even had a 15-year-old goalkeeper in Eduardo Joao Bunga.
But Gaba had to be in record book. Hitting three and becomes not only the first Malawi player to net a hat-trick in the COSAFA Castle Cup, but the first player to get more than one goal for the Flames in a game.
Mhango got his first 22 minutes into the first half from a header which was deflected into the back of the net by an Angolan defender.
The Palancas Negras who are making their return to the regional tournament after failing to compete at all last year in South Africa could have levelled the scores a few minutes later had it not been for Harry Nyirenda who saved Malawi’s brushes after clearing from the line.
Malawi, however, were the better team on the day as Mhango struck his second mid-way the second half after a series of passes from Flame’s players.
Coach Ernest Mtawali then made several substitutions towards the last quarter of the match as Malawi went on searching for more goals.
Francis Mlimbika was first to face the hook with Yamikani Fodya his replacement. A few minutes later, Mtawali brought in Dalitso Sailesi and Muhammad Sulumba for Gerrad Phiri Junior and Chiukepo Msowoya respectively.
However, it was Mhango again on the score-sheet for the Flames third goal, this time from the penalty spot at the stroke of the added minute to complete his hat trick . earlier on, Lesotho got their 2016 Cosafa Cup tournament off to the perfect start with an impressive 3-0 win over Mauritius in a Group B match at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek on Sunday.
The Flames next assignment is against Mauritius on Tuesday.