Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
CHICKEN Inn coach Joey Antipas is worried his two key players Danny “Deco” Phiri and Clemence Matawu could miss the opening match of the CAF Champions League against South Africa giants Mamelodi Sundowns due to injuries.
The Gamecocks are set to host the Pretoria side on February 14 but it appears they might plunge into their maiden Champions League battle without their skipper Phiri who is nursing an ankle.
The seasoned pair played a big role in the team’s success last season and they are now lagging behind in terms of pre-season training.
There are chances they may not have recovered fully when the Gamecocks host Sundowns on the St Valentine’s Day fixture, three weeks from now.
“Deco hasn’t started training yet. He was in plaster for the past few weeks and now that the plaster is removed we expect him to start light training in the coming days.
“So his chances of playing the first game are still 50-50 depending on the rehabilitation, the same with Clemence Matawu. The doctors have recommended complete rest for Matawu and probably he should also start training in a couple of weeks,” said Antipas.
Chicken Inn started their preparations two weeks ago.
Antipas made a few additions to the side by bringing in Moses Demera, who is currently away at the CHAN tournament, ex-Dongo Sawmill forward Physwell Madhazi and the Bantu Rovers duo of Obidiah Tarumbwa and Teenage Hadebe, who were on loan at Highlanders last season.
However, negotiations for Hadebe are believed to be ongoing.
The defender was supposed to be part of the CHAN tournament but there have been concerns about his fitness which has kept him on the side- lines.
Chicken Inn are missing goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, defender Lawrence Mhlanga and forward Edmore Chirambadare, who are on national team duty.
Antipas is happy with the way his team has been laying the foundation for the 2016 season after retaining the bulk of the players who led the side to their maiden league title.
“The boys are in good spirits and they are doing very well in training. We are now trying to do combinations and I believe we are on track.