MANDLA “Lulu” Mpofu, the Chicken Inn head coach, has reportedly been given a three-match ultimatum in the Castle Lager Premiership or face demotion, beginning with the Black Rhinos match at Gwanzura tomorrow.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE
An impeccable source told NewsDay Sport that Chicken Inn are targeting Rahman Gumbo, technical director at Southern Region Division One side Bulawayo Chiefs, and if Mpofu fails to deliver in the next three matches he will be deputising the former Warriors gaffer.
“The executive at Chicken Inn is concerned with the inconsistency of the team in the nine games played so far and Lulu could fall by the wayside anytime soon if he does not get his act together,” the source said.
The source said Mpofu will not be leaving the GameCox, but could be dropped to the position of assistant coach if the results don’t come.
However, Chicken Inn chairman Lifa Ncube yesterday denied that Mpofu has been given an ultimatum, but said they held an informal meeting with the technical team on Wednesday and advised them to improve their performance.
“We are happy with the performance of the team at the moment after we grabbed the NetOne Charity Shield and we are currently on position eight on the log, although that is not where we belong. It is, however, not true that the coach has been given an ultimatum and we are looking for a new coach. We just met with the guys (the technical team) yesterday and we told them that they should up their game,” Ncube said.
Chicken Inn scrapped a 2-1 win over Motor Action last Saturday after losing by the same scoreline to Harare City in the capital.
Before that, they had edged Caps United at home, but fell to strugglers Hwange 2-1 at the Colliery on April 28 after having lost 2-3 to Monomotapa at home on April 20.
It is the Monomotapa game that appears to have riled the Chicken Inn bosses after the Bulawayo side lost the game after having led the Biggie Zuze-coached former league champions 2-0 only to allow them to score three goals at Luveve.
Before that Chicken Inn had lost 2-1 to FC Platinum at Mandava and they are yet to win a game on the road with Mpofu’s test reportedly starting with the Black Rhinos match tomorrow in Harare.
After Chipembere, Chicken Inn have two tough matches in the City of Kings, entertaining another army side Buffaloes on Thursday at Luveve before taking on How Mine at Barbourfields on Saturday.
On Wednesday, Mpofu said he was worried about the side’s inconsistency and promised that he is collecting his first three points away from home tomorrow.
In his own words: “Inconsistency has been working against us and we have not won a game away from home, but we are working flat out and hope to come up right as we try to catch up with the rest of the teams at the top. We cannot afford to be working under pressure.”
Chicken Inn, under the late Adam Ndlovu last year ended the season on position three on the log-standings and qualified to represent the country in the Caf Confederation Cup, but opted out saying they lacked the experience to compete in Africa.