Absa de­but beck­ons for Deco at Orlando Sta­dium

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Pet­ros Kausiyo

GRITTY Wa r r i o r s ’ mid­fielder Danny “Deco” Phiri is set to be handed his ABSA Pre­mier­ship de­but tonight when his new club Golden Ar­rows face Soweto gi­ants Orlando Pi­rates at the Orlando Sta­dium.

Phiri sealed his move from do­mes­tic Pre­mier­ship cham­pi­ons Chicken Inn last month with the cap­tain of the home-based War­riors ink­ing a twoyear deal.

At Golden Ar­rows, Phiri will also re­unite with fel­low Zim­bab­wean and for­mer Chicken Inn team­mate — winger Kuda Ma­hachi — who has been re­tained by the Dur­ban out­fit af­ter his ini­tial loan spell from Mamelodi Sun­downs had ex­pired.

But there is no doubt the spot­light in the Ar­rows against Pi­rates clash, will from a Zim­bab­wean per­spec­tive, fall on the coun­try’s play­ers at the two clubs with reign­ing Cas­tle Lager Soccer Star of The Year Phiri likely to take his bow in the ABSA Pre­mier­ship af­ter be­ing in­cluded in the squad that flew to Jo­han­nes­burg last night.

Phiri’s man­ager Gib­son Ma­hachi con­firmed yes­ter­day that the com­bat­ive War­riors mid­fielder had se­cured his work per­mit in time to be in­cluded in Golden Ar­rows’ sea­son open­ing fix­ture.

“Deco seems to have quickly set­tled in at his new club and now that he man­aged to se­cure both his in­ter­na­tional clear­ance and work per­mit on time, I un­der­stand he is in line to play to­mor­row.

“In fact all the play­ers who moved dur­ing this trans­fer win­dow, Au­gus­tine Mbara, Ed­more Chi­ram­badare, Knox (Mu­tizwa) and Michelle Katsvairo have now re­ceived their per­mits which means it is now up to their re­spec­tive coaches to use them,’’ Ma­hachi said.

While Ar­rows are set to ben­e­fit from Phiri’s in­dus­try in their mid­field, the club he led to a maiden Pre­mier­ship ti­tle on the home front Chicken Inn have strug­gled for con­sis­tency since los­ing their star play­ers and cham­pi­onship-win­ning coach Joey An­tipas to the South African leagues.

The Game­cocks are cur­rently ninth on the log ta­ble and vir­tu­ally out of the reck­on­ing to de­fend their league ti­tle.

Now un­der the guid­ance of for­mer War­riors coach Rah­man Gumbo, Chicken Inn, who face lead­ers FC Plat­inum at Man­dava on Satur­day, have man­aged 27 points from 20 games and are 15 be­hind Nor­man Mapeza’s plat­inum min­ers.

Apart from Phiri, Chicken Inn also lost the at­tack­ing pair of Chi­ram­badare and Katsvairo who were snapped up by Kaizer Chiefs.

Chicken Inn’s fal­ter­ing cam­paign is set to be fur­ther dented with what now ap­pears an im­mi­nent de­par­ture of cen­tre back Teenage Hadebe to Amakhosi.

Hadebe im­pressed Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Khom­pela and his men and Ma­hachi said ne­go­ti­a­tions with Amakhosi for the 21-year-old War­riors de­fender’s pos­si­ble move had be­gun im­me­di­ately af­ter the for­mer Bantu Rovers man re­turned home from his trial stint on Sun­day night.

“We have since opened ne­go­ti­a­tions with Chiefs and we are hop­ing that by the end of this week we should have fi­nalised on a deal. What is im­por­tant is that he per­formed well dur­ing tri­als and im­pressed, which paved the way for nega­tions to start.

“Teenage also has age on his side and left-sided cen­tre backs are also not easy to come by and that should also work in his favour,’’ Ma­hachi said.

Chiefs were forced to go scout­ing for a de­fender be­fore the trans­fer win­dow closes next week fol­low­ing the in­jury of tow­er­ing cen­tre back Eric Mathoho who faces a lengthy spell on the side­lines af­ter tear­ing his an­kle lig­a­ments dur­ing the Olympic Games.

While Phiri will be look­ing to im­press on his Ar­rows de­but, Pi­rates’ coach Muhsin Etur­gral will be hop­ing to get the for­mer cham­pi­ons off to a fly­ing start to their cham­pi­onship cam­paign.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports from Jo­han­nes­burg, Er­tu­gral has been ap­ply­ing the fi­nal touches to his side’s prepa­ra­tions ahead of his first taste of com­pet­i­tive ac­tion when Pi­rates host Ar­rows.

“Well I don’t take any team lightly; we re­spect all our op­po­si­tion and we are aware that the match against Ar­rows will be a tough one,” Er­tu­gral told his club’s web­site.

“A team of Orlando Pi­rates’ cal­i­bre has to start very well so we will def­i­nitely be on the hunt for all three points to­mor­row.”

Hav­ing joined the club on their pre-sea­son prepa­ra­tions just over a month ago, the for­mer Kaizer Chiefs men­tor ex­plains that there are still some ad­just­ments be­ing made, but is con­fi­dent in the team’s prepa­ra­tions thus far.

“There are ar­eas where there are a lot of changes, and through these changes the team will have dif­fer­ent pat­terns of play and or­gan­i­sa­tion through the dif­fer­ent as­pects of the game, so the boys will have to ad­just to all these el­e­ments con­stantly,” Ert­gral said.

“But, none­the­less, I think we have pre­pared very well, es­pe­cially over the last camp, which was vi­tal to show us where we stand.”

“We over­came a few chal­lenges in the be­gin­ning, par­tic­u­larly with how we wanted the play­ers to ap­proach the game, which is nor­mal un­der the cir­cum­stances (of a new coach­ing staff and new play­ers), but the good thing for us is that we have such a great squad and I am con­fi­dent that they can get the job done.”

Danny Phiri

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