Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Joey Antipas has criticised the failure by the Premier Soccer League to observe the FIFA international break. Antipas, who also doubles as the national team coach, is expected to go in camp today with the Warriors to prepare for the back-to-back 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia.
This has left him with added pressure as he needs to take care of his side Chicken Inn’s title charge in an away match against Mushowani Stars at Trojan tomorrow.
Chicken Inn edged to within two points of leaders CAPS United with a controversial 2-1 win over Triangle at the weekend.
There are four games remaining in the season and it is getting tense at the top.
“It’s only fair that I have to give due attention to my team because that’s my bread and butter,’’ said Antipas.
“So, I will see how I will balance the scales. But this whole thing is a mess because this is a FIFA week. Everywhere in the world there are no local games being played.
“Mind you, the national team games take priority over the domestic programme. I think we had too many stoppages during the season and now it is the clubs that are paying heavily for that.”
Ironically, Antipas’ boss at Chicken Inn, Lifa Ncube, is the Premier Soccer League vice-chairman.
The Premier League have put together a full programme for the midweek and another full menu is expected at the weekend in a bid to end the season on time.
The games are expected to finish early December with the Castle Super Cup, featuring the league winner and the Chibuku Super Cup champions, bringing the curtain down.
PSL spokesperson, Kudzai Bare, said the league games should go ahead as scheduled this week since no club has more than three players in the Warriors squad.
This is in accordance with the PSL Rules and Regulations.
There are only five local players in the Warriors squad and these are Prince Dube (Highlanders), Ian Nekati (ZPC Kariba), Partson Jaure (Manica Diamonds) and goalkeepers Simba Chinani (Dynamos) and Talbert Shumba of Chapungu.
“I understand the Warriors match against Botswana is on Friday and then they play again next week in Zambia. So, the scheduling of our games do not directly interfere with the national team matches.
“What we usually do in such circumstances when the national team is playing, if a club has three or more players in the squad, their game is postponed. But if there is no team with more than three players, the domestic games will continue as scheduled.’’
She said the clubs knew the rules and regulations very well.
“The clubs are aware of this because it is there in the PSL Rules and Regulations. That’s where we picked this from and since there is no club with more than three players, the games will continue as scheduled.
“I am sure we are going to finish the league programme on time. That’s why our schedule had been a bit hectic of late.
“We are doing our best to finish all the matches early December,” said Bare.
Tomorrow: Bulawayo Chiefs v Hwange (Luveve)
Mushowani Stars v Chicken Inn (Trojan)
Harare City v TelOne (Rufaro)
Chapungu v Dynamos (Ascot)
Manica Diamonds v FC Platinum (Vengere)
Triangle United v Herentals (Gibbo)
Black Rhinos v Yadah (NSS)
Highlanders v Ngezi Platinum (Barbourfields)
Thursday: CAPS United v ZPC Kariba (NSS)