LAST season’s Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) runners-up Chicken Inn said they are ready to roll as the 2023 edition bursts into life this coming weekend.
The GameCocks have been doing their business quietly on the player transfer market, beefing up the squad by bringing in three defenders Mpumelelo Bhebhe, Dominic Jaricha and Leslie Lunga from relegated Bulawayo City.
Chicken Inn did not renew the contracts of veteran defenders Moses Jackson and Guide Goddard.
They acquired midfielders Calum English-Brown from WhaWha and Genius Mtungamiri from Bulawayo City. They also promoted three players from their development side.
The Caf ‘A’ coaching badge requirement affected Chicken Inn who elevated head coach Joey Antipas to be the club’s technical director, replacing him with Prince Matore.
Matore yesterday said the GameCocks were ready for the season’s kick-off.
“So far so good: We can’t complain. I can safely say we are ready for the league to start. Like every team that is in the league, our target for the season is to win trophies. What is good about pre-season and the start of the season is that everyone improves with each game,” Matore said.
They kick-start the season with an away game to newboys Sheasham at the weekend, a match that could either be played at Mandava or in Bulawayo as the PSL debutants are yet to come up with an alternative venue for their games after their own facility, Bata Sports Stadium is still under renovations.
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After Sheasham, the GameCocks will host another newcomer Simba Bhora at Luveve Stadium before hitting the road for a date with Cranborne Bullets.
Their biggest of the first five matches is the clash against city rivals Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium.
Besides Jackson and Goddard, the GameCocks also lost key players in Malvin Gaki and Brett Amidu with the former joining Ngezi Platinum Stars, while the latter going to Manica Diamonds.
“Moses Jackson and Guide Goddard left the club. Their contracts expired and we decided not to renew. Gaki and Brett’s contracts also expired in December and they wanted to move, so we could not stand in their way,” Matore said.
The team still boasts of its top goalscorer and Soccer Star of the Year finalist Brian Muza, Malvin Hwata, Munashe Pini, Clive Augusto, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Xolani Ndlovu, George Majika, Itai Mabunu, Richard Hachiro and Denzel Khumalo among other key players.