Motor Action head coach Joey Antipas arrived back in the country on Tuesday from a two-and-half-week coaching attachment in Denmark and Germany where he was with numerous clubs from the two European countries.
Antipas left for Europe shortly after the burial of his mother early last month. His mother passed away when the coach was on national duty with the Warriors in that doomed trip to Cape Verde.
However, the soft-spoken gaffer jetted back into the country this week and quickly got down to business as he joined the rest of the team at a training session at their Motor Action Sports Club. They are preparing for their Mbada Diamonds Cup semi-final clash against Zimbabwe Saints.
The two teams clash at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare on Sunday, the same day rivals FC Platinum and Dynamos will be battling for the other ticket to the finals of the same competition at Bulawayo’s Barbourfields Stadium.
Antipas’ return to the bench will bring some relief for the stuttering defending league champions whose grand dream of a treble this season is slowly fading by each passing week.
Motor Action already have the BancABC Sup8r cup stashed in their cabinet after defeating Highlanders in the final and are still in the running for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title. They are third on the log, seven points off the log leaders with three games to go.
“It will be a bonus if we achieve it (treble). Our focus now is to just try and do our best in the remaining matches,” Antipas told NewsDay Sport yesterday. “We are not doing that bad at the moment, but I feel we can be better.”
During Antipas’ absence, Motor Action lost to Blue Ribbon, were held by Shabanie Mine, beat Blue Ribbon in the Mbada Diamonds Cup quarter-final, before another uninspiring goalless draw to a struggling Shooting Stars last week.
On Sunday, they will come against a very defensive Zimbabwe Saints team whose previous approach to Mbada Diamonds games is to frustrate opponents by sitting deep in their own half for the whole match and hope for the best in the penalty shootout.
It has worked well for the Ephraim Chawanda-coached squad as they managed to beat Highlanders and Kiglon using the same approach.
“In a cup game you can’t always sit back. You have to go and attack. Remember it’s a one-off match. There are no replays here. We will go out there and attack them. I’m yet to discuss the condition of the players with my colleagues in the technical team, but it seems all the players are looking good,” said Antipas.
Basement Saints have vowed to go down to Division One with the Mbada Diamonds trophy.