By Muziwethu Hadebe
@Hartsfield Rugby Ground, Bulawayo (Chicken Inn FC Training)
“After finishing third in 2018, second in 2019, there has been progression and I smell something brewing up in 2020,” Chicken Inn FC head coach Joey Antipas declared after his team’s two hour training session at the Rugby field on Wednesday.
“In 2020 we should go a notch higher but it’s going to be a fight and it won’t be easy, Dynamos have awaken up from their slumber with some good acquisitions, Caps United have done the same, FC Platinum look strong, You can’t write off Highlanders they are always there and Ngezi Platinum Stars also look strong but we should be in there fighting,” said Antipas who has won two league titles before with Motor Action and the Game Cocks.
Antipas said in as much as they lost Innocent Muchaneka who used to score some vital goals for them, the new players were fitting well into his system.
“ Our new signings have shown good attitude, I am firm believer in that what you rub off at training translate into what you will rub off on the match but they will have to make their mark on the team just like Clive Augusto did and half way through the season he was gone,” said Antipas.
Chicken Inn have so far signed right back Ian Nekati from ZPC Kariba, Left back Nelson Ketala from Ngezi Platinum Stars, Clive Dzingai from relegated Mushowani, Brian Muza who scored 14 goals for FC Talen Vision last year in Division one as well as steady defender Brian Giant signed from another Division One side Mosi Rovers and Sherpard Mhlanga from Bulawayo Chiefs.
Antipas who refused to comment on his appointment as Warriors assistant coach said that they are now ready to start playing practice matches ahead of the start of the season.
“We are now looking at playing some friendly matches but the Malawi tournament will give us three matches to assess our players, it’s a big tournament which now has new sponsors and we were there last year and we will face competitive teams like Nyasa Big Bullets which is coached by Kalisto Pasuwa, BeForward who are big rivals to Nyasa, there is also a side from Mozambique Nampulu, so we going there not to win but to assess our readiness for the new season, but if we win the tournament it will a plus for us,” said Antipas.
The Chicken Inn head coach promised the handful of Chicken Inn fans and the neutrals across the country that his team was going to play some good football.
“We will play some good football, we have also added Energy Murambadoro into the technical team, he brings in a wealthy of experience into the team having played in Europe, South Africa as well as the national team, already there is some vibe in that department and a good cohesion with the technical team,” he added.
Asked on his appointment as Warriors assistant coach Antipas refused to comment. “No comment on that one, I don’t want to say something that’s going to be suicidal…………ahhh no comment on that one,” he reacted when asked about the warriors job.
Chicken Inn is set to leave for Malawi on the 25th of February for the tournament that is set to run from the 28th of February to the 1st of March.
To Face Ethiopia in the next Round.
By Muziwethu Hadebe
@ Babourfields stadium, Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe 1-0 Malawi (Talent Bizeki 73’)
Zimbabwe won 2-1 on aggregate
Zimbabwe Striker Talent Bizeki, scrambled a pass from fellow forward Dinah Rose Banda in the 73rd minute into the back of the net as the Zimbabwe Women’s U20 national soccer team edged Malawi out of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers in this preliminary round, second leg tie before a decent crowd at Babourfields.
Banda who is the daughter of former Eagles and Highlanders left winger Tanny Banda used his body well to squeeze past the strong Malawi defence and found Bizeki whose weak shot seemed to take a deflection off the legs of Malawi right back Jessie Yosepe before rolling into the nets, much to the excitement of the crowd.
Until then Malawi who maintained their shape well were having the better of the Young Mighty Warriors, knowing a goal would work in their favour, while a goalless draw was still in favour of Zimbabwe.
They had three chances falling to their captain Faith Chezhara in the 9th and 10th minute with Zimbabwe goalkeeper and Captain Cynthia Shonga producing good saves. In the 27th minute Chezhara managed to beat Shonga well on the ground but saw her shot going wide as Zimbabwe survived.
With the match two minutes away from full time and Malawi fully aware an equalizer will force the match into a penalty shoot-out, Chezhara who was giving the Zimbabwe defence a torrid time managed to break loose again but this time her fine chip just went over the bar.
Besides a strong Malawi second half performance, Zimbabwe had plenty chances to win the match especially in the first half where the Malawi goalkeeper Ruth Mhango worked over time to deny the Zimbabwe forwards.
Thrice she denied Banda, in one of the saves producing a double save having earlier stooped a Shylin Dambamuromo shot and then a Banda follow up in the 15th minute.
Mhango also stopped a Valerie Packry fine strike after Banda had swept past the Malawi defence as the talented Banda reminded fans of her brother’s skills (Toto Banda) in the 39th minute while Bizeki saw her grounder cleared from the line with the half time whistle three minutes away.
Bizeki who missed lots of opportunities, although must be praised for always positioning herself well missed a glorious chance in the 58th minute as her initial shot was saved by the keeper and skied her second effort over the bar in the box for the second ball.
Zimbabwe coach Rosemary Mugadza felt it was a tough match but was happy that the Young Mighty Warriors progressed, while her Malawi counterpart seemed to suggest that the Zimbabwe goal should not have stood as there was an infringement before the goal.
Zimbabwe will now meet Ethiopia in the next round. They will then clash with the winner of the match between South Africa and Botswana in the second round, before facing Ghana if they are to go to the world cup.
Woman of the match, Joint award for the two goalkeepers Cynthia Shonga (good saves and amazing ball distribution) and Ruth Mhango (good saves).
Zimbabwe Cynthia Shonga 9/10, Sharon Teterai 5/10, Pationa Myamugure 7/10, Precious Baison 5/10, Moreblessing Bwende 6/10, Faith Chezhara 6/10, Valerie Packray 7/10, Tinotenda Sakara 4/10, Shylin Dambamuromo 7/10, Dinah Rose Banda 8/10, Talent Bizeki 8/10
Crowd 8/10, good support.