FOUR of the title contenders from the previous season have publicly stated their desire to win the Premier League this year, setting a stage for what should be an intriguing race to bag the ultimate prize of domestic football in the upcoming campaign.
BY HENRY MHARA
Defending league champions FC Platinum, who will be without head coach Norman Mapeza for an expected six months, has vowed to retain the championship, Dynamos has declared it’s time to reclaim the glory and 2016 champions Caps United wants to regain the title.
Ambitious Ngezi Platinum Stars, who finished third last season, is the latest team to throw in their hat into the ring after their coach Tonderai Ndiraya yesterday affirmed the club’s aspiring desire to clinch the title, in their only third year in the top flight.
Ngezi yesterday unveiled nine new players, personnel that the coach believes will strengthen the team as they bid to conquer.
“We have a strong squad that should give us the results that we desire. Last season we finished third, and quite frankly its only reasonable for us to go for the big prize. In fact, we are going into every competition to win the big prize. Last year we had earmarked top four, which was very good for us. Now we have shifted our target a bit higher to the more difficult one, but which is of course achievable. We are confident with the squad we have assembled; we will be able to achieve that objective,” Ndiraya said.
The players who were paraded to the media are Tichaona Chipunza, goalkeepers Bernard Donovan and Tatenda Munditi, Marlon Mushonga, Frank Mukarati, Abraham Chaodza, Martin Nhubu and Kelvin Sande.
Ghanaian Stephen Owusu who signed a two year contract was not present at the function as he had gone back to his country.
They are still hopeful of adding former Dynamos defender Elisha Muroiwa, who has been training with the team since his return from Tanzania. Ndiraya has given his thumps up to the defender, and the club’s management were expected to meet yesterday to finalise the deal.
Ngezi Platinum spent the better part of the season last year on top of the log, only to lose their way with three games left in the campaign.
“We lacked mental strength at the end. I want to attribute to attribute that to our failure to win the championship last year. We had an opportunity because we faced our competitors during that period, and we faltered when it mattered most. So we recruited our players with that in mind, we want to go all the way. The competition is high this year, that’s the reason why we had to beef up the squad. We have a stronger squad this year than last year, strong in all departments,” he added.
The team lost a number of players including Patson Jaure and will likely to miss Qadr Amini for the entire season after he picked an injury at training. At least six first team players are also injured and will miss the start of the season, but Ndiraya is worried less.
Match Day 1
Match Day 2
Nichrut FC v Mutare City FC
Chicken Inn FC v Dynamos FC
Ngezi Platinum Stars FC v Herentals FC Highlanders FC v Black Rhinos FC
ZPC Kariba FC v FC Platinum
Yadah FC v Bulawayo Chiefs FC
Caps United FC v Harare City FC Bulawayo City FC v Chapungu FC Shabanie Mine FC v Triangle FC
Match Day 3
Chicken Inn FC v Mutare City FC Shabanie Mine FC v Nichrut FC
Ngezi Platinum Stars FC v Dynamos FC Highlanders FC v Triangle FC
ZPC Kariba FC v Herentals FC
Yadah FC v Black Rhinos FC
Caps United FC v FC Platinum
Bulawayo City FC v Bulawayo Chiefs FC Chapungu FC v Harare City FC
Match Day 5
Shabanie Mine FC v Mutare City FC Ngezi Platinum Stars FC v Chicken Inn FC Highlanders FC v Nichrut FC
ZPC Kariba FC v Dynamos FC
Yadah FC v Triangle FC
Caps United FC v Herentals FC
Mutare City FC v Chapungu FC Harare City FC v Bulawayo City FC
Bulawayo Chiefs FC v Caps United FC FC Platinum v Yadah FC
Black Rhinos FC v ZPC Kariba FC Herentals FC v Highlanders FC
Dynamos FC v Shabanie Mine FC Nichrut FC v Chicken Inn FC
Triangle FC v Ngezi Platinum Stars FC
Match Day 4
Mutare City FC v Harare City FC Bulawayo Chiefs FC v Chapungu FC
FC Platinum v Bulawayo City FC Black Rhinos FC v Caps United FC
Herrentals Fc v Yadah FC
Triangle FC v ZPC Kariba FC Dynamos FC v Highlanders FC
Chicken Inn FC v Shabanie Mine FC Nichrut FC v Ngezi Platinum Stars FC
Match Day 6
Mutare City FC v Bulawayo Chiefs FC FC Platinum v Harare City FC
Black Rhinos FC v Chapungu FC Herentals FC v Bulawayo City FC
Triangle FC v Caps United FC Dynamos FC v Yadah FC