Ricky Zililo Senior Sports Reporter
AFTER winning the Castle Premier Soccer League championship with two relatively small clubs, Motor Action and Chicken Inn, coach Joey Antipas yesterday revealed his desire to coach floundering Bulawayo giants Highlanders.
In a wide-ranging interview at his Selborne Brooke residence in Bulawayo, Antipas, who won his first PSL title in 2010 with the now defunct Motor Action and guided Chicken Inn to the 2015 league title, said he would gladly take the Bosso job if given a good offer.
However, Antipas said Chicken Inn’s participation in the Caf Champions League was the only red flag between him and Bosso because “dumping the club at this stage would devastate the players”.
“The only problem is that we’re going to Africa and I can’t let down the boys whom I’ve developed a strong bond with. Had the club said we weren’t going and Highlanders came with a good offer, I would’ve jumped ship because I love Bulawayo and I’m really feeling at home. Now I’m concentrating on assembling a strong Chicken Inn squad that’ll compete in Africa and try to defend the league title,” said Antipas.
“Like any coach, I dream of coaching a big club and in this instance there are two big clubs in Zimbabwe, Dynamos and Highlanders. The only problem with coaching big teams is lack of patience from the leadership of those clubs.
“You see, at Chicken Inn I struggled for the first six months in the 2014 season but they kept faith in me; something I wonder whether the big clubs will ever have. However, I’m a man and I would choose Bosso over DeMbare and if the deal is right, I would join Highlanders,” Antipas said.
He said his desire to coach Bosso was informed by their ongoing rebuilding exercise.
“Highlanders are going through a rebuilding phase and have younger players compared to Dynamos. I like working with youngsters, who are still ambitious, unlike the big-name players, who feel they know everything.”
Antipas’ remarks on Highlanders come at a time the Bulawayo giants, who will be celebrating their 90th anniversary next year, are in the hunt for a new coach.
After parting ways with Bongani Mafu 21 weeks into the 2015 season when the team was in 10th place, Bosso engaged Amini Soma-Phiri and Cosmas Zulu on an interim basis.
The two guided the side away from the murky waters of relegation to a respectable sixth place finish, but a whopping 20 points behind champions Chicken Inn.
Antipas said if he was to join Highlanders, the supporters and management would have to exercise the patience of saints by giving him time to build a squad just like what Chicken Inn did.
“Patience is key towards success. There are no short cuts in football. Last year, we were building a squad at Chicken Inn and in 2015 we reaped the rewards. So, if they don’t kill me when results aren’t coming our way, then I’m certain I can achieve things with them (Highlanders),” said Antipas.
He said he understands the pressure associated with coaching a big club and believes that pressure is important for any coach to achieve positive results.
NB: Get your Chronicle tomorrow to read the full Joey Antipas interview.