Hachiro injury gives Antipas headache

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Joey Antipas

BY FORTUNE MBELE
CHICKEN Inn midfielder Richard Hachiro’s nagging back injury is giving coach Joey Antipas  sleepless nights, but the gaffer has refused to link the player’s injury to the GameCocks’ recent slump in form.

Hachiro (24), who became the GameCocks’ playmaker on arrival from Caps United in January, was out of action from May due to the back injury and after the Premier Soccer League mid-season break, Antipas tried him in the 4-1 demolition of Cranborne Bullets, but failed to play a full game.

He came in from the bench as Antipas tried to patch up on his side’s 3-0 loss to FC Platinum, but again the midfielder would also not finish that game due to the injury.

Hachiro was rested in the 1-0 defeat to lowly Tenax on Sunday and Antipas yesterday said the injury needs to be attended to as a matter of urgency as it keeps recurring.

“That injury has been a setback. It is not looking good. It has been recurring and it has to be fixed. It is a major setback for the technical staff and the team. Hachiro has been keeping our midfield intact and together. He is like N’Golo Kanté and he covers the whole pitch. We do miss him, but we have to soldier on. But our midfield had done well without him; they should just step up,” Antipas said.

After the two defeats to Tenax and FC Platinum, which have seen them drop five points behind the Zvishavane-based side on the second spot on the log table, Antipas said it is back to basics as they face another tough one against Bulawayo Chiefs at Luveve Stadium on Sunday.

“It has been a tough two weeks. You can call it a slump. It has been two defeats and we have not scored a goal. We just have to pick ourselves up and fight. In our game against Tenax, they wanted it more than us. If you are not to fight, you are bound to lose. So it’s back to the drawing board to do basic things from the start. Sometimes players just go overboard. We have to put that in order,” Antipas said.

Chicken Inn have now lost four matches, a double to FC Platinum, WhaWha and Tenax in their campaign, while the platinum miners have made seven straight wins ahead of their clash with Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

Fixtures

Saturday: ZPC Kariba v Cranborne Bullets (Nyamhunga), Bulawayo City v Tenax (Barbourfields), Ngezi Platinum v Caps United (Baobab), Harare City v Triangle (NSS), WhaWha v Highlanders (Ascot), Manica Diamonds v Herentals (Vengere)

Sunday: Bulawayo Chiefs v Chicken Inn (Luveve), Dynamos v FC Platinum (NSS), Black Rhinos v Yadah (Vengere)

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