CHICKEN Inn, still smarting from the defeat to Harare giants Caps United, will be without two of their best players when they face champions Dynamos in a must-win Castle Lager Premiership football match at Gwanzura Stadium this afternoon.
The Gamecocks are coming from a 1-0 loss to Caps United at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday with Kelvin Bulaji inflicting the damage with his solitary strike before he was pulled off after picking up a knock.
It was their seventh defeat of the campaign and the third straight loss which could plunge them into an irretrievable nosedive and has put coach Joey Antipas under pressure with the team’s executive demanding a change.
And now they trudge into the field to face Dynamos without star midfielder Danny Phiri, who is still battling a knee injury that kept him out of the match against Caps United.
Antipas’ men will also be without Thabani Goredema, who is suspended after picking up three yellow cards in matches against Highlanders, Dynamos and Caps United. Antipas’ side last tasted victory on June 22 against Hwange at the Colliery.
Interestingly, after overcoming Hwange they held Dynamos to a goalless draw at Barbourfields, something which should motivate them this afternoon.
But Antipas refuses to be flattered by that performance insisting Dynamos remain the favourites.
“Dynamos are the favourites,” said Antipas. “We are going there to compete, but it will be difficult against Dynamos especially as we will be without two of our best players. Goredema is suspended and also picked up an injury against Caps United and Danny Phiri is still out injured. But we have to pick those available because life has to move on. We hope to give our best,” said Antipas.
The Bulawayo side has also signed Last Chibwiro, but the striker is clearly out of shape and overweight as he could hardly run or turn against Caps United on Sunday.
Chicken Inn are in 10th position on the log standings with 20 points, 11 shy of their opponents who are in third position with 31 points from 17 matches of the campaign.
The champions, who had a sluggish start to the campaign, appear to have hit form at a time the title race has gathered pace.
Kalisto Pasuwa’s men have collected five points from their last three matches drawing 1-1 against bitter rivals Caps United in the Harare derby before edging them 2-1 in the reverse fixture. They were then held to a 0-0 draw by army side Black Rhinos last Sunday.
Now they will be looking for an outright win to keep check of log leaders Highlanders, who visit the vastly-improved army side Black Rhinos at Rimuka Stadium in Kadoma.
Team manager Richard Chihoro is, however, wary of Chicken Inn. “They are coming from a defeat and they wouldn’t want to lose again so it will be a tough match especially if you consider that we drew at Barbourfields,” said Chihoro.
TODAY: Dynamos v Chicken Inn (Gwanzura), Chapungu v Buffaloes (Ascott Stadium), How Mine v Triangle United (Luveve Stadium 3pm), Chiredzi v ZPC Kariba (Chishamiso Stadium), Shabanie Mine v Harare City (Maglas
Stadium), Black Rhinos v Highlanders (Rimuka Stadium), Bantu Rovers v FC Platinum (Luveve 1pm)
TOMORROW: Hwange v Caps United (Colliery Stadium).