BY FORTUNE MBELE
Chicken Inn have continued on a rich vein of form in the transfer market, where they have been probably the most successful club, pinning down almost all of their targets, with the latest being the duo of goalkeeper Donovan Bernard and midfielder Tichaona Chipunza coming in from Ngezi Platinum Stars.
The Joey Antipas-coached side is only left with Brett Amidu on the list of main targets for this window period, as they continue to negotiate with FC Platinum, who have a contract with the player.
Amidu, like Chipunza and Bernard, told his parent club that he wanted to join Chicken Inn and the two clubs had to reach an agreement.
Chipunza and Bernard still had running contracts with Ngezi Platinum Stars and had indicated their intentions to leave the Mhondoro-based side and the Erol Akbay-coached side agreed to release the duo.
Chicken Inn secretary Tavengwa Hara said the Gamecocks had agreed terms with Bernard and Chipunza.
“We have agreed terms with the players after they were released by their club. Actually, we have talked to Ngezi as well and terms have been agreed. What it basically means is that Donovan (Bernard) and (Tichaona) Chipunza are now Chicken Inn players,” Hara said.
That position was also confirmed by Ngezi Platinum spokesperson Cloete Munjoma.
“What Chicken Inn have said is the same story that we are going to discuss here. What they have said is accurate,” Munjoma said.
Bernard and Chipunza join former colleague at Ngezi Platinum, striker Clive Augusto, who has also signed with Chicken Inn for the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season.
Other players that have left Ngezi Platinum are 2018 Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year finalist Godknows Murwira, who joined champions FC Platinum.
Walter Mukanga also packed his bags for the capital to join Harare City.
Donald Teguru, Frank Makarati, Tichaona Mabvura, Xolisani Moyo and Keith Murera are also said to be unsettled at Ngezi Platinum, which fired coach Tonderai Ndiraya, with only five games to the end of the season after surrendering the league title to FC Platinum.
The Mhondoro-based club replaced Ndiraya with former Highlanders’ gaffer Dutchman Akbay, who is assisted by Cosmas Zulu and Tendai Chikuni.
Akbay’s job, to assemble a new squad won’t be an easy one, but they still have James Nguluve, Liberty Chakoroma, Qadr Amini and Simba Nhivi as some of the senior players that have remained loyal to the club.
While Ngezi have been one of the biggest losers in this transfer market, Chicken Inn have enjoyed a good run so far, as they also benefited from the arrival of Valentine Kadonzvo, coming in as a free agent after weaning himself from DeMbare.
After a tough season, where the rest of the league had to watch from the sidelines as FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum slugged it out at the top for the title, Antipas decided that it was time to go out in search of quality players.
So far everything seems to have worked well in his favour after he captured some of the most sought-after players in the topflight. Since they last won the title in 2015, Chicken Inn seem to have assembled a squad that can match those achievements.