CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League club Ngezi Platinum coach Tonderai Ndiraya insists that there is still hope in the title race despite his side falling four points behind leaders FC Platinum following a 1-0 defeat to Mutare City, stressing that there are many more twist and turns to come.
BY HENRY MHARA
Just last week, Ndiraya’s men cranked up the pressure on their fellow platinum miners, who had lost to Harare City to close the gap to just one point.
But following a shock defeat to relegation strugglers on Sunday, the gap has widened once again, as the title chase entered the final stretch.
Ndiraya was left disappointed by losing the match, and the manner they had surrendered the points against a side many expected them to roll over.
But with 10 games still to play, the Ngezi Platinum gaffer feels the race is not yet finished, and intends to chase down their rivals to the end.
“We didn’t do ourselves any great favours by losing to Mutare City, but we still have a chance. There are 30 points still to play for, 10 games to go, we are still in there,” he noted.
“We are fighting for the championship and to allow ourselves to drop points in the manner we did is so disappointing. We need to improve going forward, if we entertain any chances of fighting for the championship. The next games are not easy for us.”
Madamburo travel to Highlanders on Sunday and failure to get maximum points in this encounter could be catastrophic.
“We have to go there and get a result. We need to keep our heads high and move on. We are back to four points behind, and hopefully we get back to winning ways and start collecting points again,” Ndiraya said.
“Time is running out, we just have to find the right rhythm and the consistence that is required.”
At this stage of the season last year, Ngezi Platinum looked like strolling to their first league championship, but fell away right at the end.
While Ngezi Platinum Stars’ run-in looks intimidating with games against Highlanders, Harare City, ZPC Kariba, Caps United and a potential title decider against FC Platinum still on their to-do list, Ndiraya is not concerned.
“Last season, we faltered at the end, but this is not the end. We still have 10 games to go, so we have time to recover from this. Last season, we lost it with about three games to go, so this time around, we have time to still fight for the championship,” he said.
“I have said from the beginning that we want to correct the mistakes that happened last year, and hopefully in the next games, we hit the right codes and the right consistency.”
Ngezi never really got into their groove against a stubborn City side who threw everything at their more fancied side, with the victory enhancing their slim chances of surviving relegation this season.
Ndiraya though was not surprised by the show that was put up by their latest opponent.
“We knew what to expect and our boys knew, because we struggled to beat these guys at home. It was a difficult match for us. Even when they play other big teams here, they give them problems and those teams will win narrowly, which shows that they are not a cheap team,” he said.
“In all the matches that I have watched them play, they always give a big fight. Overall, we didn’t perform well, but I thought we got the chances to win the match.
“We got chances and you cant miss clear-cut chances like that if you want to win the title. They got one chance and they scored, and that is what you want if you want to win the championship.”