BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
AS football action prepares for resumption next month, former champions Chicken Inn are buoyant about their squad, which they claim is the best among the elite clubs.
While defending champions FC Platinum are one of the teams tipped for the ultimate prize of domestic football, the Big Three — Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United — have also been touted along with Ngezi Platinum.
Chicken Inn secretary Tavengwa Hara, however, believes Joey Antipas has put together a strong squad that has remained intact since the club’s tour of Malawi for an invitational tournament in January last year, which they won.
“I have heard most people are talking about Dynamos, Highlanders, FC Platinum, Caps United and Ngezi Platinum as having the strongest squads, but I can tell you Chicken Inn have the strongest squad. They are stronger than the Big Three. If you check the team that went to Malawi for an invitational tournament, it has remained largely intact. It is basically the same squad except maybe for Tichaona Chipunza,” he said.
The squad, which went on to win the 2020 Malawi Energem International Football Bonanza in Blantyre, included the likes of Marlvin Gaki, Obriel Chirinda, Brett Amidu, Lukas Sibanda, Ian Nekati, Brian Giant, Neilson Ketala, and Passmore Bernard, among others.
The GameCocks finished the tournament without conceding a goal after beating UD Songo of Mozambique 2-0 in their last game, having edged Be Forward Wanderers and Malawi giants Nyasa Big Bullets by an identical 1-0 scoreline.
Antipas at the time expressed satisfaction with the squad and said after the Malawi tour, he would not make any additions.
He had acquired new signings headlined by Warriors rightback Nekati, who had been with ZPC Kariba, Nelson Ketala from Ngezi, Lista Ndlovu from Black Mambas and highly-rated defensive midfielder Clive Dzingai, who joined from relegated Mushowani Stars.
Other players that also joined at the time are Paddington Nyamakura, signed from Yadah Stars and Brian Muza, who was snapped from lower division club Talen Vision, among others.
The duo is seen as direct replacements to strikers Clive Augusto and Obadiah Tarumbwa.
This year, Chicken Inn, who won the championship in 2015, added Michael Charamba from Ngezi Platinum as they prepare for the new campaign.
Although Valentine Kadonzvo has left for Ngezi, they have refused to clear him.
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