ZANACO coach Muamba Numba says Chicken Inn are a better side than champions FC Platinum and provided his charges with a sterner test during their pre-season friendly at Luveve Stadium on Friday.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The former Zambian international made the remarks after the Gamecocks came back from a goal down at halftime to win 2-1 against his Zanaco side, which last Sunday hammered FC Platinum 4-0 at Mandava.
Veteran midfielder Clemence Matawu and new face Obrey Chirinda were on target for the 2015 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions in what should be a confidence boosting victory against the highly-rated Zambian side.
“I think they are a very good team, a very formidable side,” said Numba, who was part of the Chipolopolo side at the 2000 and 2006 African Cup of Nations finals.
“That is what I have been telling my team. We played them in Ndola in a four-team tournament and they played very well. I told my boys that this team that we are playing is better than FC Platinum and we should expect a very tough game.
“They have very good pace upfront and Chicken Inn has given us the much needed match fitness for our team.”
Despite the flattering praises from his Zambian counterpart, returning Chicken Inn head coach Joey Antipas chose to be modest about his aspirations for the new season.
Antipas won his first in five years and the second league title of his coaching career with Chicken Inn in 2015 before an unsuccessful stint at South African side Amazulu.
“We used a number of new boys who have been training with us and they were quite impressive, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Antipas said.
“It is still early days. We have a long season ahead and we have got to progress and I believe we will be a better side. It’s pre-season and the main thing is to get the boys to get some mileage and game time and also trying to get the right combinations. It wasn’t too bad today; we made quite a few changes but the good thing is that there is a lot of competitiveness and I believe with that we can come up with a good team.”
Chicken Inn gave a run to a number of new players in their squad, including former How Mine defender Kudzai Chideu, Joe Nyabinde formerly of Shabanie Mine and ex-Bulawayo Chiefs player Adrian Banana in the starting line-up.
Former Highlanders’ Simon Munawa, Wellington Kamudyariwa (ex-Yadah FC midfielder), Chirinda, Xolani Ndlovu, formerly with Tsholotsho all came from the bench.