WITH six matches left before the end of the 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season, Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya has stoked the flames by suggesting that the championship is now theirs to lose.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Ngezi Platinum overcame Bulawayo City 1-0 on Saturday to reduce the gap between them and log leaders Dynamos to one point. FC Platinum also overcame Bulawayo giants Highlanders 2-1 at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday to take their points level with Ngezi Platinum.
Dynamos lead the chasing pack with 57 points after they were held to a 1-all draw by ZPC Kariba at Nyamhunga.
But Ndiraya believes the destiny of the championship is in their hands as they have a run-in against the teams they have beaten before.
“I think it’s an open race. All the three top teams have a big chance to win it. The main motivation is the difference in points and it’s highly unlikely that the fourth team will come through at this stage and win the championship,” Ndiraya said as he ruled out Chicken Inn.
“But basically, I think it’s for us to lose. I say so because if you look at our run-in, we are playing the same teams we beat.”
Ndiraya previously tipped Dynamos to win the title, but with his side having maintained interest in the championship, he now sees his side as the favourites.
He said that playing their title rivals at Baobab gives his team an edge in the title tussle.
“We have been doing well at Baobab, where we have not lost for a long time, so we should win against these teams at home and then win other matches. If we manage that, then we will be crowned champions. We drew against Chicken Inn in Bulawayo and they will be coming here. We beat FC Platinum at home and we will be going to Mandava. Dynamos, of course, beat us in Harare, but they will be coming to Baobab,” Ndiraya said.
Ngezi are unbeaten at home this season in the league.
Only Caps United managed to beat the platinum miners in their backyard in a cup match.
They have only failed to win at home on four occasions with draws against Tsholotsho, Bantu Rovers, Chapungu and Caps United.
So good have been Ngezi at Baobab that they only failed to score at home on two occasions, against Tsholotsho and Chapungu.
Ngezi Platinum travel to Chapungu tomorrow, with midfielder Tichaona Mabvura, who had been away on trials with South African top-flight side Ajax Cape Town, set to be part of the travelling team.
Mabvura had a successful trial with the Urban Warriors, whom he will join at the end of the season. He returned home at the weekend.
After the Chapungu trip, Ngezi will host Dynamos at Baobab.
They will then travel to face relegated Bantu Rovers in Bulawayo the following week, before hosting Chicken Inn a week later. They travel to Mandava for a clash against FC Platinum next before rounding off their campaign with a home match against Triangle.
Fixtures (all matches start at 3pm unless stated)
Tomorrow: Bantu Rovers FC v ZPC Kariba (Luveve,1pm), How Mine v Bulawayo City (Luveve), FC Platinum v Shabanie (Mandava), Chapungu v Ngezi (Ascot), Hwange v Yadah (Colliery), Dynamos v Tsholotsho (NSS)
Thursday: Triangle v Highlanders (Gibbo), Black Rhinos v Caps United (NSS), Chicken Inn v Harare City (Luveve)