THEY might not be one of the biggest crowd pullers in domestic football but Chicken Inn coach Prince Matore is happy with the growing numbers that are paying to watch the Gamecocks so far in the 2023 Premier Soccer League season.
The relatively new season is in the eighth round of matches with Chicken Inn sitting on 7th position having accumulated 12 points (two wins and six draws).
In comparison to their rivals across town Highlanders, who can easily fill up Barbourfields Stadium on any Sunday when playing well, Chicken Inn can count a handful of supporters as loyal fans.
B-Metro sports reporters Fungai Muderere and Raymond Jaravaza have of late observed the crowds that show up at Luveve Stadium are rising significantly when the team is in Bulawayo.
Coach Matore, who took over from veteran gaffer Joey Antipas after he was elevated to the position of club technical director, agrees.
“It’s refreshing to see the number of fans that are coming in to watch us here at Luveve Stadium. I will say maybe it’s our brand of football that we are playing that is attracting the fans and I hope they keep coming to give us the support,” he told this publication after his team brushed off Herentals College by two goals to one last Saturday.
Chicken Inn normally play their games on Saturday at Luveve Stadium when playing other teams with the exception of the Big Three – Highlanders, Caps United and Dynamos whom they play at Barbourfields Stadium given the facility’s huge carrying capacity.
Amos Mutunhami says he is a football neutral but enjoys coming to Luveve Stadium to watch the Gamecocks because of the laid-back atmosphere, which allows him to enjoy an afternoon of football with his young son and daughter.
“I’m not worried about some random guy hurling insults at opposition players or the referee. It’s just an afternoon of good football and the fans generally respect one another. Maybe in future I will buy Chicken Inn jerseys for myself and my children. I have been watching the team for almost a year-and-a-half and I find it easier to spend my Saturday afternoon here than anywhere else,” said Mutunhami.
Traders such as young boys selling roasted groundnuts and ice cream merchants can also be seen mingling in the crowds selling their wares to fans.
Away teams visiting Luveve Stadium can only hope the number of fans paying to watch the Gamecocks stays in the minimal in order to stop the Bulawayo-based team from turning the facility into a fortress.