HARARE – Reigning champions Chicken Inn have been dealt a huge blow after their title-winning coach Joey Antipas signed a two-year deal with South African National First Division (NFD) side Amazulu.
Sources in South Africa revealed to the Daily News yesterday that Antipas, who led the Gamecocks to their maiden Castle Lager Premiership title last season, has been tasked to assemble a team strong enough to return to the Absa Premiership.
Antipas is expected to take with him his trusted lieutenant Prince Matore when he officially begins work at Amazulu in July.
Both Chicken Inn chairperson Lifa Ncube and secretary Tavengwa Hara refused to comment on Antipas’ impending departure for the South African second-tier league side.
However, sources close to the deal confirmed that the reigning Zimbabwe Coach of the Year penned a two-year deal with Usuthu on Monday.
According to the sources, Antipas has already notified the Gamecocks hierarchy, who have already began the process of recruiting a new coach to take over in July.
Already, such names like former Dynamos coaches Tonderai Ndiraya and Moses Chunga are rumoured to be lined up as possible replacements for Antipas.
Both Chicken Inn and Amazulu are expected to make an announcement today or in the coming days to make it official.
Amazulu have had a disappointing season after struggling to make an impression in the NFD.
The KwaZulu Natal-based side currently sit in ninth place on the table trailing log-leaders Baroka FC by 18 points with only three matches before the season ends.
Usuthu parted ways with former coach Steve Barker last month leaving his assistants Delron Buckley and Davies Phiri to finish the season.
“The coach has been notified of the decision to terminate his contract after the failure to meet our mandate of getting automatic promotion back into the Premier Division,” Amazulu general manager Lunga Sokhela said at the time.
“We have thanked him for his contribution and hard work into the first team as well his input towards our development structures. We wish him well with his future plans.”