Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
CHICKEN Inn coach Rahman Gumbo read the riot act to his players ahead of last Sunday’s away trip to Hwange, reprimanding them for complacency which is threatening their championship cause.
Gumbo was livid at his charges following a subdued midweek performance that saw the 2015 league champions being downed 0-1 by Premiership returnees Black Rhinos at Luveve Stadium.
Chicken Inn players clearly underrated Rhinos only to try and raise their game towards the halfway stage of the first half after realising that their opponents were not pushovers.
But by then, Rhinos were in control of the game resulting in Chicken Inn players being frustrated and picking up a number of unnecessary yellow cards.
Chicken Inn ended the first half with 10 players on the field after defensive midfielder Innocent Mucheneka was shown a straight red card for a lunge on a Rhinos player.
Sources within the Chicken Inn squad said Gumbo had a go at his players at a training session held at Luveve Stadium in preparation for the game against Hwange.
Gumbo made five changes to the starting line-up, bringing in defenders Guide Goddard and Ben Nyahunzvi, the midfield duo of Thabani Goredema and Chris Samakweri as well as striker Obidiah Tarumbwa.
Samakweri scored the solitary goal in their win against Hwange at the stroke of halftime.
Gumbo said he had to rein in his players and is happy with their response.
“The attitude completely changed when we went to Hwange. I made several changes to the side that started against Black Rhinos and got a good result. The guys who came in justified their inclusion and that on its own shows that no one should be comfortable as whoever comes in is capable of doing the job. Everyone must fight for a starting place,” said Gumbo.
“I made it clear that I don’t tolerate indiscipline. Against Black Rhinos we picked up so many yellow cards as well as a red card and I can’t have that in my team. I think whatever we spoke about after our loss to Black Rhinos sunk in their minds and as professionals I expect them to deliver,” he said.
The former Warriors and Highlanders gaffer said he is happy with the way his team has gelled after five Premiership matches.
At this stage last season, Chicken Inn had seven points from a possible 15, but they presently sit on nine points from five games.
“I’m happy with how we’ve been improving and gelling with each passing game, but our major problem has been complacency that crept into the team. You saw how the players underrated our opponents (Black Rhinos). Had it not been for complacency, we could have amassed more points, but we can’t keep referring to the past, we need to focus on coming games.
“We face How Mine in our next fixture and being a derby, it’s a game where the set of players hunger for a win and I hope my boys will do well,” Gumbo said.
How Mine beat Bantu Rovers 1-0 on Monday and if they have to collect maximum points against Chicken Inn they need to be clinical in front of goal.
Chicken Inn will be without injured midfielders Clemence Matawu and George Majika as well as forward Darryl Nyandoro for the How Mine encounter.