AFTER assembling one of the strongest looking squads ahead of the start of the 2018 Castle Lager Premier League season, Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya declared that they were going for the big one.
In doing so, Ndiraya joined a select group of coaches that have the guts to state what they want instead of regurgitating the “it’s too early to talk about the championship” rant.
And Ngezi started the campaign like a team that means business.
Fourteen matches into the league campaign and they were on top of the log, yet to taste defeat and looked like a team that would run away with it.
Ngezi were lauded for their professionalism, their embrace of football technology and overall entertaining play.
However, a defeat to Bulawayo Chiefs on June 3 seemed to take the Ngezi train off the rails.
Soon after that fall in Bulawayo, Madamburo lost 1-2 to FC Platinum, their first home defeat in 31 matches.
Black Rhinos then handed them another 2-1 defeat.
Now the team that led the way for most of the first half of the season finds itself six points behind log leaders FC Platinum and in need of some pumping up during the two week midseason break.
“We have put ourselves in this situation, we have to get ourselves out of it,” said Ndiraya.
Ngezi Platinum Stars captain Liberty Chakoroma acknowledges that his side lost their ways towards the halfway mark.
“After three consecutive defeats, I think the mid-season break came at a good time because you could see that we had lost confidence and the morale was down,” he said.
“Towards the end of the first half of the season, we lost steam as we were handed our first defeat of the season by Bulawayo Chiefs.
“We hoped to redeem ourselves in the next match at home against FC Platinum, but unfortunately we suffered our first home defeat in 31 matches and that added to the frustration. We went on to lose to Rhinos and it got even worse.”
Despite the six point gap between his team and FC Platinum, Chakoroma insists it’s too early to rule Madamburo out of the title race.
“We had a meeting as players after the FC Platinum defeat in which I urged the guys to continue looking forward and concentrate. It’s not over until it is over.
“Our target remains the same, we want the league title. It is too early to rule us out, we are at half time and the second half is about to start,” said the 24-year-old utility man.
Chakoroma also reckons that if Terrence Dzvukamanja, who has already scored eight goals for the Mhondoro based side, stays in the groove, Ngezi Platinum Stars will be unstoppable.
“He is my roommate, and I always urge him to continue working hard and carry the team. I believe that he will achieve the target that the coach has set for him and in doing so will power us to the title,” said Chakaroma.