Chicken Inn cry foul over Uhuru Cup 'snub'

HARARE - Chicken  Inn feel they have been denied a great opportunity after they were excluded from defending their Uhuru Cup title this weekend.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), the organisers of the competition, have roped in Dynamos, CAPS United, Highlanders and FC Platinum to take part in the tournament.

This Sunday, CAPS United will take on Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium in the first semi-final while Highlanders take on FC Platinum in the other semi-final at Barbourfields Stadium.

The final of the competition will be played on Independence Day next Tuesday at the National Sports Stadium.

The Gamecocks, who beat Highlanders 2-0 in last year’s final and also finished fourth during the 2016 Castle Lager Premiership season, feel they should have been part of the tournament as well.

“Besides the fact that we are also the defending champions of the competition, we are no longer aware of what is the incentive for teams finishing in the top four on the log,” Chicken Inn secretary general Tavengwa Hara told the Daily News. 

“If it because of they have chosen the teams with the biggest crowds then surely Shabanie Mine should have been part of this competition as well.

“Shabanie are the third most supported team in the league and if the organisers would have said that one of the semi-finals was going to be Shabanie against FC Platinum in Zvishavane, then that match would have been sold out.

“We wanted to be the Kings of Uhuru and defend that trophy every year but that chance has been taken away from us.”

Zifa insist they have the prerogative to select teams taking part in the competition since the Uhuru Cup is an invitational only knockout tournament. 

Meanwhile, the Gamecocks and their want-away defender Lawrence Mhlanga are scheduled to appear before the Bulawayo Labour Court today as their long-running transfer saga rages on.

The Warriors defender had signed for FC Platinum at the start of the year but Chicken Inn protested.

The Gamecocks claimed that the defender still had a year left on his contract with them while Mhlanga insisted that his deal ran out at the end of 2016.  

“At the moment we do not what is happening with Lawrence but I think he is being misled by his handlers who are now taking us to the Labour Court,” Hara said.

“At the Labour Court they cannot mediate in this matter which is purely a football issue. Whatever the Labour Court will come up with is likely not to be enforceable in football.”

Hara insists the Gamecocks are well in their rights to hold onto Mhlanga, who is probably one of the finest centre backs in the local game. 

“What they are trying to do is intimidate us by taking us to the Labour Court but as Chicken Inn we will not be intimidated,” he said.

“We cannot be a professional team like Chicken Inn and allow a player of Lawrence’s stature to run down his contract without renewing it.

“Why is he running away from the Zifa structures where there is the Player Status Committee is there to rule in such disputes?”

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