Despite having the joint most frugal defence thus far in the Castle Premier Soccer League, leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya still wants to further fortify at the back in the upcoming mid-season transfer window.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
Ngezi, like fellow platinum miners and second-placed FC Platinum, have conceded a meagre four goals in 14 matches this season, with a makeshift defence after
converting captain Liberty Chakoroma to partner newcomer Frank Makarati at the back.
Ndiraya has also successfully transformed Kenneth Bulaji into a wingback, where he has thus far performed with distinction.
But the former Dynamos coach has, on a number of times this season, expressed concern with the performance of the defence, especially Chakoroma, who is rather overelaborate in defence at times.
Ndiraya was at it again after the weekend home victory over Harare City at Boabab.
“There are certain areas we need to improve and beef up when we get to mid-season. Our centre back is not really good and we don’t really have enough cover there. I am hoping that when we get to the window, we further strengthen the team in that area,” he said after the match.
Other defensive options, Ngezi Platinum have include Keith Murera, who has also been majestic so far this season, as well as Godknows Murwira, employed as a defensive midfielder in the last two matches, and Nielson Ketala, who has not featured much this season.
However, the coach also hailed the understanding between the central defence pair of Makarati and Chakoroma, crediting them for the 10 cleans sheets the team has raked in.
“Liberty and Frank have struck the right cord since the start of the season. Their combination is working well for us and, of course, Murera and Bulaji are also complimenting them quite well. I think it’s the understanding between the two centre halves and wing backs coming in to compliment them that understanding has worked well for us,” Ndiraya said.
“I hope that they keep going, I hope the focus will continue to be there. I hope they will continue to improve and desist from some of the lapse of concentration we see, but overall, I am impressed by all the clean sheets.”
Goalkeeper Donovan Bernard seems to be enjoying his first season at Ngezi and has been uncompromising between the sticks so far, while Tichaona Chipunza has hardly put a foot wrong playing just in front of the defence following his move from Dynamos.
Ngezi have conceded goals against Shabanie, Mutare City, Caps United and Harare City this season
The Mhondoro-Ngezi-based side has made its intention to win the league title clear and has done a good job of it as it remains undefeated three matches before the mid-season break.