Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions, Chicken Inn have made a change of heart and will now participate in next year’s Caf Champions League.
by Kevin Mapasure
Chicken Inn and Harare City were both registered for the Caf Champions League and Confederations Cup, respectively ahead of yesterday’s deadline.
GameCocks chairman, Lifa Ncube yesterday confirmed that the club had rescinded its earlier decision to pass on their Champions League ticket.
Second and third-placed Dynamos and FC Platinum had both turned down the offer to replace Chicken Inn in the competition.
But yesterday Chicken Inn decided they would participate in the competition, which demands healthy financial clout.
“We are now going to participate in the Caf Champions League,” Ncube said. “We thought the boys played well and worked hard to win the championship, so we decided we shouldn’t dampen their spirits. We will be meeting with the coaches so that they can tell us their requirements so that work starts immediately.”
Yesterday, Joey Antipas, who was in Harare for the Soccer Stars selection, had expressed disappointment at not participating in the competition.
He would be happy at learning that he will be taking his charges into the jungles of the African Safari.
Zifa confirmed that they had successfully registered Chicken Inn and Harare City in their respective competitions.
The association’s communications manager, Xolisani Gwesela said they had received a letter yesterday from Chicken Inn asking the mother body to register the club in the premier club competition.
“We would like to confirm that Zimbabwean clubs will participate in the Caf inter-club competitions,” he said. “For the Caf Champions League, we have entered Chicken Inn and for the Confederations Cup, we have entered Harare City. Caf have confirmed receipt of our request to engage in the two competitions. We are excited and would like to thank the Premier Soccer league and the leadership of both Chicken Inn and Harare City for agreeing to participate in these prestigious competitions. They are key in the development of the league as well as the national teams.”
Antipas and his technical staff will start identifying players that the club can bring in to bolster the squad ahead of a taxing season.
The club had cited lack of funds as one of the reasons to opt out of participation. Depending on how far the club can progress in the competition, the Caf Champions League can be an expensive undertaking particularly due to long-haul trips.
But it is also hugely rewarding for clubs that make it into the group stages.