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Antipas’ homecoming

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SUDDENLY, coaching Castle Lager Premier Soccer League side Chicken Inn has become tougher than expected.

BY WELLINGTON TONI,SPORTS EDITOR

Mandla Mpofu quit after a 2-1 home loss to Hwange, his assistant Mkhuphali Masuku followed suit and now Joey Antipas, who has never coached outside Harare, has taken over for the last five games of the season, or more if he leaves them, at least in the top four.

For that goal to be achieved, they need to beat championship dark horses FC Platinum at Luveve Stadium tomorrow afternoon and move back into the top six and hope that Triangle don’t beat Dynamos at Gibbo tomorrow.

Ambitious Chicken Inn are in seventh place with 37 points and, mathematically can still win the league title assuming that Dynamos, Highlanders, Harare City, Caps United and Triangle lose all their remaining four games.

Antipas started his Gamecox tenure with a 1-1 away draw to Monomotapa last weekend where Tendai Ndoro scored his 15th goal of the season.

Chicken Inn’s problem has been inconsistency since winning the NetOne Charity Shield at the start of the season, having failed to make headway in both the BancABC Sup8r Cup and the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

Their target was to play in Africa next season and the gateway was either winning the league title or the Mbada Diamonds Cup. Both are out of the way now and the only hope realistically is a top four finish by season end.

Their opponents, FC Platinum, are not ready to give up on the title race as yet and will fight tooth and nail to get three points at Luveve.

Platinum have seen a revival under Lloyd Mutasa and sit in fourth place with 45 points, just three behind joint leaders Dynamos and Harare City and two behind third-placed Highlanders.

Both teams have the personnel to serve up a juicy dish at Luveve with the hosts hoping to have Mamelodi Sundowns trialist Kuda Mahachi back in time for the match, Danny Phiri, Cannan Nkomo and Clemence Matawu in top form.

Charles Sibanda is the key man for Pure Platinum Play and if he is in form, then Mutasa can expect better performances from  strikers Donald Ngoma, Obrey Chirwa, consistent anchorman Thabani Kamusoko and Mitchelle Katsvairo.

Platinum will be without Winston Mhango, who was injured in the 1-0 derby win over Shabanie Mine last weekend and has undergone successful surgery in Harare.

“l would like to express my gratitude through the support you have given me in this bad time that l am facing not only to me, but also my teammates as well that include Quard Amini and Ray Sibanda. The kind of love and caring has really shown us how dedicated you are and committed to the team as a whole (club president) George Mawere, chairman Dumisani Sisale, executive members not to forget our beloved supporters) l kindly thank you once more so that you should continue guiding us in good time and bad times hope the Spirit of Pure Platinum Play will always live on,” Mhango told the club’s official Twitter handle.

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