Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
NEWLY promoted Premiership side Bulawayo Chiefs are closing in on unheralded former Chicken Inn midfielder Brighton Backa Manhire, who is back in the country after a two-year stint with South African First Division side Mbombela United.
Manhire, who turned 24 years last month, played a blinder for Chiefs on Saturday in their final preparatory match before their season’s opener away to Yadah in Harare. Chiefs drew 1-1 against former Premiership side Hwange at the Colliery Stadium in Saturday’s friendly game.
The midfielder, who once tried his luck at Chiefs before moving to South Africa in 2016, impressed the Premiership new boys’ head of technical Thulani Sibanda.
“Manhire is training with us and our hope is that we get his reverse clearance in time for the season kick-off. He has settled well and fits well in our plans.
At 24, he is mature, tactically disciplined, has great technique and has experience that he got from Mbombela United. I think he will add value to our side,” said Sibanda.
Chiefs’ other new signings include national Under-20 defender Shadreck Nyahwa, who they snapped up from now defunct How Mine, alongside left linkman Lucky Ndlela, right-back Andrew Tandi, who was discarded by Bulawayo City, and forward Hamadzashe Sibanda, who is on loan from FC Platinum.
Hamadzashe partnered skipper Kundishora Chakanyuka, the scorer for Chiefs, upfront.
They had imposing goalkeeper Kelvin Nyoni, with Tandi joining the trio of Moses Majika, Last Sithole, and Polite Moyo in defence. Takunda Muzuva played in front of the central defenders, with the pair of Arthur Musiiwa and Gracious Muleya playing behind the strikers.
A fierce battle for the right-back position is on at Chiefs between Tandi and Marlvin Mukolo, who had a great 2017 season.
“It’s not only the right-back where we have healthy competition for places; almost all the positions are like that. This means everyone should work hard because no one is guaranteed a place,” said Sibanda.
On their goals for the season, Sibanda said: “We have braced for the challenge and realistically, in as much as we’re here to learn, we want to survive relegation. With the squad we have, I’ve no doubt that we can cause a couple of upsets in our quest to be in the topflight for a long period.” — @ZililoR