BY FORTUNE MBELE
Chicken Inn… (1) 1
Hwange……… (0) 1
NOT even the presence of head coach Joey Antipas could inspire Chicken Inn after they missed out on a chance to reclaim top spot in the race for the league title when they were held by relegation-fighting Hwange in a Premier Soccer League match at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Antipas flew in yesterday morning from Harare where he presided over the Warriors’ disappointing draw against Botswana in a Group H Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
For long periods it seemed as if he would get the desired result as Chicken Inn led for the better part of the game after taking the lead through a first half long range shot by George Majika 20 minutes into the game following a blunder by Felix Chindungwe.
However, with 19 minutes left before the final whistle central defender Moses Jackson hacked down Hwange’s Admire Banda inside the penalty box and referee of the day Thembinkosi Sibanda pointed to the spot.
Ernest Gwidzima stepped up to convert the spot kick and ensure the coalminers settled for a draw.
Antipas, who is expected to leave with the Warriors squad for Zambia today blamed the defeat on the congested fixture list, which he said was beginning to take its toll on the players.
“It was a tough game. We did not play our usual game due to the boys’ exhaustion. They are jaded. We have not lost hope. We just have to keep believing. The amount of games we are having of late; it’s just hectic. It is like we are living in prehistoric times but these players are not horses. But there is nothing we can do. PSL does not look at these factors. This is all due to their poor planning and they are just loading us with games. This should not be happening,” Antipas said.
The visitors’ goalkeepers’ coach Edmore Sibanda said it was unfortunate that they did not win the match after matching their opponents for long periods.
“We played well. It’s only that we made a blunder when we started the game but as the game went on we picked up form and we managed to equalise in the second half. It is a fair result for us. We look ahead to the next game. If we had won, we would have moved to a better position. We will survive, we just need to win two games and we will move up there,” Sibanda said.
Hwange had opportunities to seal the win with Chindungwe finding himself at the end of two good opportunities that were saved by goalkeeper Pride Zendera while Andrew Chuma also had his well-taken shot from outside the box in the first half punched away for a corner-kick by the busy goalkeeper.
Chicken Inn: P Zendera, P Dube, X Ndlovu, M Jackson, G Goddard, T Chipunza, G Majika, J Nyabinde (D Munawa 69’), P Chirinda, I Mucheneka (B Amidu 80’), M Gaki (V Kadonzvo 66’).
Hwange: T Mvula, A Chuma, N Chinyerere, L Sibanda, G Ndlovu, F Chindungwe, A Sibanda, V Kawe (K Chimbadzwa 76’) G Zulu (D Maphosa 58’), A Gadzikwa, E Gwidzima.
Premier Soccer League results and fixtures
Yesterday: FC Platinum 0-0 Highlanders, Ngezi Platinum Stars 0-0 Chapungu, Chicken Inn 1-1 Hwange, TelOne 1-0 Triangle United, Herentals 2-0 Mushowani Stars
Today: Dynamos v Black Rhinos (Rufaro), Yadah v CAPS United (National Sports Stadium), Manica Diamonds v Bulawayo Chiefs (Vengere), ZPC Kariba v Harare City (Nyamhunga)