ZIMBABWE’S Caf Champions League representatives Chicken Inn will hold a two-week training camp outside Bulawayo as they prepare for the preliminary round first leg of the continental club competition against South African football giants Mamelodi Sundowns next month.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Club secretary Tavengwa Hara said they were planning to hold the training camp either in Hwange or Zvishavane.
The GameCocks started their pre-season training at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds on Thursday without coach Joey Antipas, who is winding up his vacation in Mozambique and is expected in Bulawayo next week.
The Zimbabwe football champions take on the Brazilians on the weekend of February 12-14 in a match that is likely to be played at Barbourfields Stadium.
“We are meeting next week after the head coach Antipas arrives. He is still on holiday. He should be leaving Mozambique today or tomorrow [yesterday or today] for Harare and he will join the rest of the team next week. We are thinking of camping outside town for one to two weeks either in Zvishavane or Hwange, but that will be decided after we meet,” Hara said.
Assistant coaches Prince Matore, Sikhumbuzo “China” Banda and goalkeepers’ coach Julius Ndlovu have been taking charge of the team’s pre-season training sessions in the absence of Antipas.
Goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, defender Lawrence Mhlanga, midfielder George Majika, strikers Edmore Chirambadare and new acquisition Moses Demera are part of the Warriors squad for the African Nations Championships which is camping in Harare.
Demera joined Chicken Inn from relegated Flame Lily, but is not able to join his new colleagues because of the Warriors’ commitments.
The GameCocks were joined by former Dongo Sawmill striker Physwell Madhazi, while new players who have been registered for the Caf Champions League, Obediah Tarumbwa and Teenage Hadebe were also not part of the first day of training.
Tarumbwa, who was on loan at Highlanders, however, looks set to dump Chicken Inn after reportedly agreeing a two-year deal with ZPC Kariba on Thursday.
Skipper Danny “Deco” Phiri, who was released from the Warriors training camp due an ankle tendon injury, watched his team’s training sessions from the sidelines.
“I am making progress. I think I will be joining the rest of the guys next week,” Phiri said.
Nicholas Muchadeyi, promoted from the juniors and also registered for the African Safari, was part of the first day at training.
Save for Phiri and Hadebe and the players in the Warriors’ camp, most of the GameCocks players attended training on Thursday.