NGEZI Platinum begin their Chibuku Super Cup defence tomorrow with a tough first round match against league defending champions, Caps United at Baobab Stadium, with the Mhondoro club saying it would be a disaster for them to exit the competition at this stage.
BY HENRY MHARA
The clash is the headline match for the country’s main cup competition at this stage, with other interesting matches including the Midlands derby between FC Platinum and Chapungu, Highlanders playing Harare City, while Dynamos take on Bulawayo City.
Ngezi Platinum coach, Tonderai Ndiraya’s side know the rewards for winning this competition are huge, as it earns them a ticket to participate in the Caf Confederations Cup next year.
They played in the African safari this season, where they exited in the first round and the team’s assistant coach, Gift “Umbro” Muzadzi admitted they would want a quick return to the African jungle and compete with the best the continent can offer.
“It was a learning curve for us, but a nice experience. We now know what is expected of in the competition (Caf Confed) and it would be very good for the players and the club to have another go in the competition,” he said.
While a challenge against Caps United looks enormous, Muzadzi is unfazed and believes his side have the capacity to go all the way. Anything short of a win will be disastrous.
“When the draw was conducted, we knew we will get a good team so we expected this and we are quiet comfortable. Preparations are going on well. We are playing a big team and it’s a knockout competition so we will have to be at our best.
“We are the defending champions and we don’t want to exit in the first round. We are a small club facing one of the league’s big boys, but it would be a disaster for us if we lose this match. The players are motivated to play against Caps United, who call themselves Cup Kings. They want to showcase their talent so it would be nice to beat them.
“The boys have the hunger to win, you can see the desire is there to win something for recognition. This is unlike the so-called big boys from the big teams, who feel they have arrived.”
The two teams have met twice in the league, with the first encounter at Baobab ending in a draw, before the Green Machine blew Madamburo 3-0 in the reverse fixture.
Ngezi Platinum players felt humiliated after that match, and sources in their camp said the squad was thrilled when they were handed Caps United in the first round draw, as that affords them a chance to restore their dignity.
However, Muzadzi said revenge will be the least of their priorities in this encounter.
“The moment you go out there with the aim of revenge, then you put yourself under pressure. For us, it’s not a revenge mission, but we are treating it as a cup final. We lost the last match we played them, but the approach this time would be different. Pressure is on them to beat us because they won the last time and would want to continue their dominance on us.
The supporters should expect a good match because it’s a meeting of two teams that play good entertaining football.”
Muzadzi said midfielder, Walter Mukanga will not take any part tomorrow, as he is still down with injury, but the team’s leading scorer, Terrance Dzvukamanja, who missed the last few league matches with a shoulder problem, trained with the rest of the squad this week and should be available for selection.