By Ricky Zililo
Chicken Inn will be without defender Last Sithole for their opening Castle Lager Premier Soccer League against ZPC Kariba at Luveve Stadium tomorrow.
Sithole, one of the three natural centre backs at Chicken Inn, sneaked out of the country last week to try his luck at South African PSL side, Highlands Park.
The unavailability of Sithole for the season’s opener has left Chicken Inn with two central defenders, Guide Goddard and Moses Jackson.
Joey Antipas, the Chicken Inn coach who failed to sign a central defender during the pre-season, said they would make do with utility players as cover.
“If he (Sithole) makes the grade, we’ll have to make do with the defenders we have. Most of our defenders are utility players. The truth of the matter is we might find ourselves in a catch 22 situation because we failed to get central defenders we had targeted,” said Antipas.
Chicken Inn’s prime central defence target was Peter Muduhwa before he decided to extend his contract at Highlanders.
Among the utility players Antipas hopes to use as centre backs are Ben Nyahunzwi, Simon Munawa, Passmore Bernard and Tichaona Chipunza.
Chicken Inn secretary-general Tawengwa Hara said Sithole’s agent had informed the Gamecocks that the defender is expected in the country tomorrow after a training game against South African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns.
“From the conversations that we’ve had with his agent, Sithole appears to be doing well having played two training games for Highlands Park. He was in the team that beat Orlando Pirates 2-1 a couple of days back and also featured in the 0-0 draw against Black Leopards yesterday (Wednesday). They also want to see him for the final time in a game situation against Mamelodi Sundowns. He will be back on Friday evening or Saturday morning,” said Hara.
“Chicken Inn is a club of choice and we always make sure that every year we send at least a player (out of the country). In short, we are a departure lounge and our desire is to afford Zimbabwean players an opportunity to play outside the country. Look, from the Warriors squad that beat Congo 2-0, we had four foreign-based players that used to play for us in the final 18 of that Zimbabwean squad.”
Kaizer Chiefs defender Teenage Hadebe, winger Kudakwashe Mahachi, who plays for Orlando Pirates, and the Golden Arrows duo of Danny Phiri and Divine Lunga were part of the Warriors’ team squad. The Chronicle