Fungai Muderere in Blantyre, Malawi
ZIMBABWE’S football outfit Chicken Inn will be handed a chance to further assess their arsenal when they do battle against Malawi’s Be Forward Wanderers in their first match of the four-team Energem International Bonanza invitational tournament at Kamuzu Stadium on Friday.
Kick-off is at 3pm.
This will be the second time for Chicken Inn to take part in the tournament after their participation in the inaugural event last year.
Chicken Inn will join hosts Nyasa Big Bullets, Be Forward Wanderers and Mozambique’s UD Songo in fighting for glory at the bonanza. Ferroviario de Nampula of Mozambique emerged champions of the pre-season competition last year after collecting four points from three games.
Energem Petroleum Limited of Malawi has forked out K5 million to buy the naming rights of this year’s four-team pre-season invitational contest.
Chicken Inn head coach Joey Antipas reckons starting with Friday’s match, the tournament presents his players with a good chance to showcase their skills and ability.
“Be Forward Wanderers are a big club and we are happy that we have been granted another great chance to further assess our strengths and weaknesses in such a big international invitational tournament. This tournament presents everyone in the team with a chance to prove what they are made of. However, the players should not be under any pressure.
Every player that we brought to Malawi will be given a chance to showcase what he is made of,” said Antipas.
After arriving in Malawi on Wednesday afternoon and having a muscle loosening workout at Mpira Village’s artificial-surfaced pitch on that same day, Antipas and his charges were expected to have a feel of the match venue on Thursday afternoon.
Speedy forward Nicole Mutatiwa who shrugged off an injury he picked last Friday, midfield maestro Clemence Matawu, veteran defenders Guide Goddard and Moses Jackson, Moses Majika, ex-Ngezi Platinum Stars’ duo of goalkeeper Donovan Bernard and defensive midfielder Tinashe Chipunza, midfielder Sipho Ndlovu made the trip to Blantyre.
Also, in the Gamecocks camp is winger Malvin Gaki and skilful attacker Brett Amidu. The Gamecocks have been one of the busiest clubs on the transfer market in this pre-season and have so far made seven new acquisitions. They have also included their latest acquisition Leroy Ndlovu in their 36-member delegation.
Ndlovu (28) was the 2019 Zifa Northern Region Division One top scorer, with 20 goals for police outfit ZRP FC. He becomes the eighth player to join the Gamecocks, who are eager to challenge for the title. They also signed Brian Muza from Zifa Southern Region Division One side Talen Vision a fortnight ago.
With this competition for starting places in the Chicken Inn camp, it’s now an open secret that players willing to gamble on their careers by sitting on their laurels in the build-up to the 2020 season might find themselves playing second fiddle.
In 2016, Chicken Inn were invited to a four-team tournament in Zambia which featured Azam of Tanzania, Zesco United and Zanaco. The following year, the Gamecocks played against Zanaco and Nkana Red Devils of Zambia in another pre-season event.