Big Bullets star forward Gabadinho Mhango has said he is not losing sleep over talk that his form has slumped noticeably.
The football sensation, who has been hailed as a genius, also brushed off suggestions that his dip in form is a result of pressure.
The 20-year-old star returned to South Africa on Tuesday afternoon for further talks with PSL side Bloemfontein Celtic, which is one of the clubs where he underwent trials last month.
Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire confirmed the player’s departure last evening.
Gabadinho has not scored in a competitive match both at club and international level in over eight games now.
“It is true that I am experiencing a slump in form, but it is no big deal, it happens in the game of football.
“I guess I am just going through a bad patch which is normal,” said Gabadinho.
The diminutive forward had one of his worst games at the weekend when he was taken off stage for Brown ‘Fisimatama’ Mizeyi in a Carlsberg Cup match against Silver Strikers which the People’s Team triumphed 1-0.
Asked if he is worried that he is no longer finding the back of the net, Gabadinho—sounding ice-cool—said: “It does worry me, but I don’t want it to affect me psychologically. Zangovuta [it’s just tough for me] at the moment, but I will bounce back.”
He also said the outcome of his trials in South Africa has not contributed to his dip in form.
Bullets coach Eddington Ng’onamo, who doubles as Flames deputy coach, conceded that Gabadinho’s dip in form is a cause for worry.
He attributed it to the hype from the fans and the media.
“The boy has been in the limelight since he rose to fame to the extent that even women who sell vegetables in the market talk of Gaba and it is not easy for a young man to handle such pressure.
“But we are working on his psychological aspect by giving him advice so that he should be able to pick himself up.
“We have advised him not to be under pressure and try to play his normal game,” said Ng’onamo.
The Bullets mentor also conceded that the gifted forward’s form slump has affected the club.
“Oh yes! It has because even though we have other good strikers, Gaba is a striker who can create something out of nothing,” he said.
Renowned football commentator Charles Nyirenda and former Big Bullets and Flames on-field leader Peter ‘Mjojo’ Mponda said there could be a lot of contributing factors such as going through a bad spell and the outcome of his trials in South Africa. Said Nyirenda: “Dip in form is not the end of the story, he can be helped to regain form easily by identifying the factors that have led to the situation in which he is.
“The way his trials were handled and the eventual outcome could be one of the factors because he mentioned something to that effect upon his return. He has lost a bit of focus and he needs time to recover and the coaches need to work on his psychological aspect. Otherwise, he is still the same chap who took the local football scene by storm, but going through emotions.” Nyirenda said the other factor could be the player’s attitude. “He needs to take it easy and focus on regaining form. Coaches can also help him through the process by knowing when to introduce him in order to ease the pressure.”
On his part, Mponda said: “I believe it is normal that a player goes through a bad patch at some point. Of course, there could be other factors such as failing to handle the weight of expectations, but we should understand that here is a young man who is still in the phase of development, but hogged the limelight in a flash.
“We just have to ease the pressure on him and must keep his feet to the ground and strive hard to achieve more success in the future.”