HARARE – Chicken Inn coach Mandla Mpofu says he is gunning for the Mbada Diamonds Cup trophy after an emphatic 3-0 first round win over Shabanie Mine at Mandava Stadium on Saturday.
The Gamecocks were simply outstanding on the afternoon, dominating the midfield department with Danny Phiri, Clement Matawu and Canaan Nkomo in irresistible form.
The Bulawayo-based side were very mobile going forward, with Kuda Mahachi and Tendai Mukambi also giving the Chinda Boys defence a torrid time. Three second half goals from Nkomo, Matawu and Mahachi ensured them of a place in the quarter-finals of the country’s richest football tournament.
The match appeared one-sided for lengthy periods and Chicken Inn seemed to have done their homework after that 2-0 defeat to Shabanie Mine in the BancABC quarter-finals. On Saturday, they came with a different game plan which saw them dominate from the first whistle till the end.
So polished was Chicken Inn’s display that they got a standing ovation from neutrals, including FC Platinum supporters, who were clearly backing the Bulawayo visitors following their elimination by Shabanie from the BancABC Sup8r final.
Mpofu, who won the club’s first silverware by lifting the NetOne Charity Shield at the same stadium in March, said he wants to use the victory at Mandava as a launch pad for a Mbada Diamonds Cup title claim.
“With this kind of display, what can stop us from winning the Cup?”Mpofu asked rhetorically.
“We have a team that can match any team in the country, we just need to believe in ourselves and we will conquer. I’m very much pleased with the hunger for success displayed by the young lads and if they could go on like this then they have got a bright future with regards to their football career.”
The Chicken Inn coach also praised his lively winger Mahachi, who was duly named man-of-the-match. Mpofu acknowledged that it will be difficult for his side to keep the lanky winger at the Bulawayo side following his heroic display.
“Kuda is a very good player, very confident on the ball and his type of play also gives confidence to the other players,” added Mpofu.
“With the way he is playing, it won’t be long before he is snatched by a foreign club. But what’s important is that he remains modest and maintains his positive attitude on and off the field. I really feel for that Shabanie Mine right-back, he had a nightmarish afternoon but that happens in football.”
Shabanie Mine coach Luke Masomere was left with no choice but to praise Chicken Inn.
“They have good players who understand each other very well,” Masomere said.
“They outclassed us especially in the midfield and they should be given credit for a disciplined performance in all departments. If the truth has to be told, they deserved to score more goals than they did.”