Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
FORMER Premier Soccer League champions Chicken Inn ended weeks of speculation by announcing the return of title winning coach Joey Antipas as their new head coach.
He was unveiled at a press conference yesterday together with his trusted lieutenant Prince Matore as assistant coach, but details of their contracts were kept under wraps.
He won the PSL title with the GameCocks in 2015 before moving to South African side AmaZulu in the National First Division in 2016, where he was sacked last year after the team bought the franchise of Thanda Royal Zulu in the Absa Premiership.
Antipas replaces Rahman Gumbo, whose contract was not renewed after he could only manage a fourth place finish in the 2017 league campaign. Gumbo spent the better part of season without an assistant after Thulani Sibanda resigned a few games into the season to return to First Division side Bulawayo Chiefs, who he led to the 2018 Premiership without losing a match in winning the second tier league.
Former Railstars shot stopper Tirivaviri Sithole is the new goalkeepers’ coach, replacing long-serving trainer Julius Ndlovu, who joined neighbours Bulawayo City. Sikhumbuzo Banda retained his position as welfare manager.
Antipas expressed joy at returning home and said he was ready to hit the ground running.
“It’s good to be back; last time around we won the championship and we want to continue that trend. Winning the championship takes time; it involves hard work and serious dedication that is what we hope to do,” said Antipas.
“The team did well last season and l think they missed out in the last games. I believe Chicken Inn is a good side; what we need is for players to pull in one direction; have a happy crop of players and we will surely be a competitive side. Now we have to hit the ground running and training starts tomorrow at Hartsfield grounds, so the work begins,” he said.
Chicken Inn treasurer Mlungisi Moyo said they were aiming to grow the Chicken Inn brand by winning titles.
“We have a number of objectives, which we will not put in any particular order. One of them is to grow the brand in terms of our support base, the outside community and the local football community. As Chicken Inn, we want to be fighting for every title that is there to play for. We want to win the championship and l believe that is how we can grow our brand,” said Moyo.