By Ricky Zililo
Chicken Inn FC have signed two attacking players, Clive Augusto and Sipho Ndlovu, on two-year deals as they start the process of strengthening their side to challenge for the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title.
Augusto, a winger-cum-striker, joins the 2015 league champions from Ngezi Platinum Stars, with central midfielder Ndlovu coming from relegated Bulawayo City.
The two players, both aged 24, are the first off-season signings Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas recommended and with age on their side, the duo is expected to add firepower to the Gamecocks’ side.
Chicken Inn secretary-general Tavengwa Hara yesterday said the two were part of the five players that the club has identified in its bid to launch a strong title bid.
“I think the coach (Antipas) was clear in one of the interviews that he did with you about his desire to reinforce the squad with guys who still have energy to carry them through. We’ve tied down Clive Augusto and Sipho Ndlovu. It is our hope that they will add value to the Chicken Inn side during the coming years that they will be with,” said Hara.
Chicken Inn finished the 2018 league campaign third on the table behind champions FC Platinum and runners-up Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Antipas said his side will be challenging for the championship next season and therefore wants players with “firepower”.
In 2018, inconsistency cost Chicken Inn the championship as they dropped points at crucial stages thereby allowing FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars to turn the title race into a two-team event.
“I thought we could have done much better in 2018. There were times we were also in the race and we just lost the plot, lost games we should have won or drawn. Iam therefore looking forward to beefing the squad.
“Some of the players right now still got it but I don’t think they’ll be good enough for us to challenge for the championship,” said Antipas.
“To challenge for the championship, you need to bring in players that will add value to the squad. Some of the players are in the twilight of their careers, so we have to add more firepower. By firepower, I mean a couple of more youthful players. Football is about fighting, so we need to bring in fighters.
“Areas of much concern are the wingers; we don’t have much depth on the flanks and we also need to bring in a quality centre-back like Peter Muduhwa, I think it will be ok,” Antipas said.
The old horses at Chicken Inn, who are reaching the “twilight” of their careers include 37-year-old central defender Moses Jackson, midfielder Clemence Matawu, who turned 36 on Thursday, striker Obidiah Tarumbwa (33), defender Ben Nyahunzwi and central midfielder, Simon Munawa.
Nyahunzwi and Jackson have been competing in central defence alongside Guide Goddard, who spent the better part of the season on the bench. Goddard turns 30 next year.
Muduhwa’s contract with Highlanders expires on December 31 and he has been reluctant to pen a new deal with Bosso. The Chronicle