Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER Soccer Star of the Year Clemence Matawu says Chicken Inn will put in the kind of shift that befits the status their club has grown over the years when they meet Dynamos in one of the title deciders at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
The Gamecocks, who won the Castle Lager Premiership title in 2015, were in the line for this year’s crown until late in the campaign when they fell by the wayside following a run of adverse results during the second half of the season. Although they are now out of the picture and trailing log leaders FC Platinum by eight points, Chicken Inn still have a big part to play in the destiny of the championship.
The Gamecocks stand in the way of Dynamos, who are involved in a two-horse race with favourites FC Platinum, with the top two teams separated by two points ahead of the final matches tomorrow. DeMbare need to beat Chicken Inn and hope that the platinum miners drop points in the other match against Chapungu at Ascot.
The Glamour Boys are still hoping they will be crowned champions by winning the title on goal difference in the case FC Platinum draw and they get maximum points against Chicken Inn. But Matawu yesterday promised the Harare giants to brace for a tough afternoon.
“I am someone who usually prefers to talk after we have played. But this is obviously a big game. As Chicken Inn, we play every game to win and this one against Dynamos is no exception. Mind you, Chicken Inn has grown to become a big brand in Zimbabwe and we continue to grow. So we aim for nothing less than a win in order to finish the season in a respectable manner.
“Everyone here has been working very hard to make this club big. Only two years ago we won this title and this year again we had a very big chance to challenge for it,” said Matawu.
Ironically, Dynamos and Chicken Inn met each other in the last game of the season last year and the Gamecocks defied odds to win the match 3-2 to secure a fourth place at the expense of the Glamour Boys who needed only to avoid defeat to get the placing. Dynamos have not beaten Chicken Inn in their last three league meetings dating back to 2015.
Matawu believes the Bulawayo side have a reputation to protect. Chicken Inn are far off the pace with 61 points while Dynamos have 67, two behind leaders FC Platinum.
“This was a fair season, for me. We did reasonably well and like I said, we could have gone for the title but there were certain stages in the race when we dropped crucial points especially when we lost those three consecutive games against Yadah, CAPS United and Highlanders. But our fans should not despair. We promise to come back stronger next year,” said Matawu.
The former Warriors fringe player, who turns 35 next Wednesday, has been one of the most consistent performers at the Gamecocks this year and is tipped to make his sixth selection among the best XI in the Soccer Star of the Year awards.
He won the Soccer Star of the Year award in 2006 and is still in good shape for another contest 11 years on.
“I love playing football. I have been in this trade for some time and that love for the game is one of my secrets to success.