NGEZI Platinum Stars may be sitting at the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table with a game in hand and unbeaten in top-flight domestic action this season, but they are determined not to be caught off-guard when they face newboys Bulawayo Chiefs at Luveve Stadium today.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The league’s pacesetters, who will be playing their first match in Bulawayo this season, are fully conscious that their opponents today stunned fellow miners FC Platinum 2-0 in a league match in April.
That was struggling Bulawayo Chiefs’ last win and they have gone seven matches without victory, only managing three draws and four defeats since then, but Ngezi Platinum coach Tonderai Ndiraya said they were not taking any chances against Chiefs after what they did to FC Platinum.
“The most important thing in our minds as we come down is what Bulawayo Chiefs did to our fellow platinum miners. We are fully aware of that and we are not going to take this game lightly,” Ndiraya said.
“We are coming there with full focus on what we are facing. I have not watched Bulawayo Chiefs play before, but that result against FC Platinum and the others they have posted make us come fully prepared.”
Although Ndiraya lamented the absence of leading scorer Terrence Dzvukamanja, who is on national duty in South Africa with the Warriors, he, however, admitted that he was not short of other attacking options.
Also not available is Keith Murera, who has accumulated three yellow cards and is suspended for the game.
Ngezi are on 38 points with 12 wins from 14 games, with two draws and are yet to lose a match this season.
Bulawayo Chiefs, on the other hand, are gradually sliding down the ladder and they are now on position 15 with 12 points from 14 games with only two wins, six draws and six defeats.
Chiefs’ technical analyst Thulani Sibanda said they had been affected by injury to their top strikers Kundishora Chakanyuka, Farau Matare and Mgcini Mpofu and conceded it would be difficult to stop Ngezi Platinum Stars today.
“We will try our best, but it is almost impossible to beat Ngezi. They are a good side and have depth while we have had to learn to train without our key strikers, which has been a blow for us. But we will give it our best shot,” Sibanda said.
In another match lined up for this afternoon, CAPS United will be hoping to capitalise on slip-ups by Chicken Inn and Harare City on Friday and yesterday respectively to make further inroads towards the top four when they host basement side Mutare City Rovers.
Struggling Harare giants Dynamos face a tricky away test against Triangle at Gibbo, hoping to avoid yet another slip-up in what has been a miserable season so far.