Antipas declares title ambitions

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Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas

BY FORTUNE MBELE

CHICKEN Inn head coach Joey Antipas on Sunday declared his 2020 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) title ambitions after winning the Malawi Energem International Bonanza invitational tournament at Kamuzu Stadium.

The GameCocks beat Malawian giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers as well as Mozambican champions UD Songo.

Antipas told journalists in Malawi after beating UD Songo 2-0 in Chicken Inn’s last game to finish at the top of the log-standings, that this year they want to win the league title and try their luck in the Caf Champions League.

“The main thing we came here for was to prepare for our season (the Castle Lager PSL), which should be coming up in the next couple of weeks. So we are very happy about winning this tournament. The league is a very long programme and in football, anything can happen, but I believe with cohesion we have got, we can even clinch the league (title). That is our plan.
We want to go and represent our country in the Caf Champions League,” he said.

Chicken Inn were runners-up in the league last year, with FC Platinum clinching the title with 62 points from 34 games, while the GameCocks fell short by three points.

The Bulawayo-based side won the title in 2015 and took part in the 2016 Caf Champions League, but had an early exit, losing 2-1 on goal aggregate to South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns in the first round.

In Malawi, Brett Amidu and new signing Leroy Ndlovu were on target against UD Songo.

In the first game on Friday, Malvin Gaki’s solitary strike in the first half saw the GameCocks fly past Be Forward Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium, with Nicole Mutatiwa’s goal on Saturday despatching the Kalisto Pasuwa-coached Nyasa Big Bullets.

Antipas travelled with all his new signings, including Ndlovu, Brian Muza, Nielson Ketala, Shepard Mhlanga and Clive Dzingayi, Ian Nekati, Lucas Sibanda, Paddington Nyamakura and Bryan Giant, and he was pleased with their contributions.

“We deserved to win the trophy because we played consistently throughout the tournament and we also prepared well for the competition,” the GameCocks gaffer said.

“The boys played very well throughout the tournament. We are very happy, winning any trophy is a feather in the cap.”

Antipas said UD Songo gave them a scare, while Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers were low on fitness levels.

“The Mozambican team was well-prepared. They gave us problems in the first half, but we rectified the problems we had. We had given them too much space and our reaction was very slow, but we corrected that and the second half it was plain-sailing,” he said.