Innocent Mucheneka

Soccer star of the year finalist goes AWOL

Raymond Jaravaza

STILL basking in the glory of making it into last season’s 11 Soccer Stars of the Year finalists, Chicken Inn midfielder Innocent Mucheneka has gone AWOL – absent without official leave. 

Mucheneka has not reported for pre-season training, which started almost two weeks ago.

Head coach, Joey Antipas,  who jetted into the country from Germany where he underwent a three-week coaching attachment with Bundesliga club Werder Bremen – was unpleasantly surprised to find one of the club’s most prized players absent from training.

“Mucheneka still has not reported for training. He is AWOL. I’m yet to meet the executive to map a way forward but what I can say is that the guys (assistant Prince Matore and manager Sikhumbuzo Banda) have been doing a fantastic job in my absence,” said Antipas.

The player is rumoured to be in Caps United’s crosshairs.

But club secretary-general Tavengwa Hara insists that Mucheneka remains a Chicken Inn player, even in the mid of intense interest from clubs as far as South Africa.

“Mucheneka’s contract expires at the end of 2020. If ever there’s any team that is interested in his services or any other player who is in our books, they are free to approach the club and we will hear what they are offering,” said Hara.

Chicken Inn have been busy bolstering their squad ahead of the 2019 season.

They have signed 24-year-old central midfielder Sipho Ndlovu from Bulawayo City, central midfielder Brett Amidu (23), Harare City striker Marlvin Gaki (24) and the attacking pair of Clive Augusto and Panashe Mutasa.

Augusto (24), a winger-cum-striker, joined Chicken Inn from Ngezi Platinum Stars, with attacking midfielder Mutasa (19) coming from Dynamos.

Chicken Inn, who finished third in the 2018 campaign behind champions FC Platinum and runners-up Ngezi Platinum Stars, have been signing “young” players in a bid to last the long Premiership race.