The Sunday News
Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
Chicken Inn ……………………………………(1) (1)
PRESENTED with another opportunity to go top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table, Chicken Inn fluffed it as inconsistency again manifested when they were held to a draw by relegation-threatened Hwange at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Maximum points would have seen the former champions shoot back to the top of the log but their performance was nowhere near that of a championship chasing team.
The stalemate yesterday was their eighth in this campaign. They have accumulated a total of 53 points from 31 games and sit a point behind leaders Caps United who could increase the lead when they face Yadah this afternoon.
Joey Antipas who doubles up as the national team and Chicken Inn coach was on the bench for the GameCocks a day after taking charge of the Warriors nil-all draw with Botswana.
His side opened the scoring through a George Majika beauty in the 20th minute. His effort was from the top drawer, from 25 yards out the winger unleashed a powerful strike that left Taimon Mvula in goal for Hwange clutching the air.
It was Hwange, however, who would enjoy a good spell after that goal. The visitors through veterans Felix Chindungwe and Gilbert Zulu enjoyed the lion’s share of possession as the coal miners sought an equaliser.
They would be rewarded in the 71st minute as Enerst Gwatima converted from the penalty spot to salvage a point for Chipangano. That was after midfielder Admire Banda was hacked down by Moses Majika inside the box. Referee on the day Thembinkosi Sibanda pointed to the spot.
From that moment the visitors took control of the game as they played with vigour. Chindungwe almost gave Hwange the lead but his curled effort from outside the box was well saved by Pride Zendera.
The GameCocks had chances but they were not clinical in front of goal. They were a blunt chisel that cuts away at everything except the intended target. After the game, Antipas defended his charges.
“Tight game. It’s only that we didn’t play our usual game. I will say that is due to the boys being jaded. We did well in some phases of the game. But we have not lost hope, we just have to keep believing. The amount of games that we are having these days is hectic, it’s like living in pre-historic times, you know players are not horses, there is not much we can do about it but I would say this is all due to poor planning,” said Antipas.
Hwange goalkeepers coach Edmore Sibanda was pleased with the result.
“We played very well it’s only that we made a blunder when we started our game but as the game went on we picked from there and managed to equalise in the second half. It’s a fair result to us though we drew but we need to go back to the drawing board and look at the upcoming match.
“Chicken Inn were sitting back and during half time we said to the boys lets go at them and put pressure on their mistakes. We now only need two wins in order to survive relegation,” he said.
Pride Zendera, Phakamani Dube, Xolani Ndlovu, Moses Jackson, Guide Goddard, Tichaona Chipunza, George Majika, Joe Nyabinde (Simon Munawa 69 mins), Obriel Chirinda, Innocent Muchaneka ( Bret Amidu 80 mins), Malvin Gaki (Valentine Kadondzvo 66 mins)
Taimon Mvula, Andrew Chuma, Nomore Chinyerere, Lukas Sibanda, Gerald Ndlovu, Felix Chindungwe, Admire Banda, Vassili Kawe (Kasimero Chimbadzwa 71 mins), Gilbert Zulu (Dumisani Maphosa 58 mins) , Shepard Gadzikwa, Enerst Gwatima