LOG leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars have been dealt a body blow ahead of their must-win Castle Lager Premiership match against Chicken Inn at the Baobab Stadium tomorrow after Tichaona Mabvura withdrew from the squad following the death of his father.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Mabvura has been consistent, contributing eight goals and as many assists. He is one goal behind the club’s leading goal scorer striker Terrence Dzukamanja and is a favourite to make it on the Soccer Stars of the Year calendar.
Coach Tonderai Ndiraya acknowledged Mabvura will be missed. “It’s unfortunate that we will be without Mabvura who lost his father. He is an important player, who has contributed to be where we are today with several goals and assists. He will be missed, but we hope whoever will play will give it their best,” Ndiraya said.
Ngezi Platinum welcome back skipper Partson Jaure, who has been kept on the sidelines through injury.
Jaure is training with the team ahead of the clash with Chicken Inn alongside Dominic Mukandi also making a return.
“We have been boosted by the return of captain Partson Jaure to training. He missed a number of games due to injury and he will play a part on Wednesday. Dominic Mukandi is also back at training, having missed a couple of games because of injury. We are, however, still to assess Dzukamanja who sustained a shoulder injury and will have to pass a late fitness test,” Ndiraya added.
The Ngezi Platinum coach predicted a tough encounter against Chicken Inn whom he said posed a threat to their championship bid.
“It’s going to be tough. But we had anticipated we will have a tough finish because Chicken Inn are also in the race and if they beat us, they will reduce the gap to one point and that will make it difficult for us. We will also face FC Platinum on Saturday, that means playing two strong teams which are fighting for the championship in a space of four days. Nevertheless we are ready for them. We have been given enough time to prepare for these two games during the international break. So we remain positive knowing that if we win the two matches starting against Chicken Inn we will have enhanced our chances of winning the league title. Right now it’s firmly in our hands and we just have to win our remaining three matches,” Ndiraya said.
Ngezi Platinum lead the standings with 63 points, the same as closest challengers FC Platinum who are a rung below because of a goal difference.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures
Tomorrow: Bulawayo City v Dynamos (Barbourfields), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Chicken Inn (Baobab), ZPC Kariba v Triangle (Nyamhunga), Harare City v Black Rhinos (Rufaro), Chapungu v Bantu Rovers (Ascot), Tsholotsho v FC Platinum (Luveve), Caps United v Yadah (NSS), Shabanie Mine v Hwange (Maglas)
Thursday: Highlanders v How Mine (Barbourfields)