JOEY Antipas makes a formal return to the Chicken Inn bench tomorrow afternoon as he leads his side against Highlanders in a Zimbabwe National Army Charities Shield semi-final clash at Barbourfields Stadium, as the two city rivals bid, for their first silverware of the year.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The tournament, which will also see Dynamos and Caps United playing against each other at the National Sports Stadium in another semi-final, is a curtain raiser to the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season which kicks off on March 10.
Antipas won the league title with the team in 2015 before he was snapped up by South African side Amazulu where he spent just one season.
He watched his team’s 2-1 win over Zanaco of Zambia in a friendly match a few weeks ago, but he is expected to return to the bench tomorrow in what should be an exciting Bulawayo derby.
The two-time title-winning coach said the team’s supporters should expect to see the club’s new players in the match.
“We will definitely be parading the new faces that will be available on the day. At this time of the season it is all about finding the right combinations. I guess it would be good preparation for both sides, as we get nearer to the kickoff of the Premier Soccer League. I think it will be really competitive because there is something at stake,” Antipas said.
Against Zanaco, Chicken Inn, who fought for the title until the last few games of the campaign last season, gave a run to new faces such as Simon Munawa, Joe Nyabinde, Kudzai Chiedu, Adrian Banana, Wellington Kamudyariwa, Obrey Chirinda and Xolani Ndlovu.
But they have also been assessing Toto Banda and Kuda Kumwala, who could be given a chance to impress before the technical bench can make a final decision on them.
Chicken Inn looks a formidable side again this season after retaining the core of their squad from last year, which boasts of the likes of Obadiah Tarumbwa, George Majika, Clemence Matawu, Innocent Mucheneka, Moses Jackson, Devine Lunga and Passmore Bernard and there is no doubt that they will be one of the favourites to win the title this season.
Chicken Inn will go into the match looking for revenge after they were smashed 4-0 by Highlanders, the last time they met in a league clash, a defeat that put paid to their hopes of winning the league title last year.