NGEZI Platinum coach Tonderai Ndiraya was not amused at seeing his striker Clive Augusto shown the red card for the second time this season, raising concern that his team could suffer due to suspensions in the title run in.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Augusto was given his marching orders in the 66th minute for a second bookable offence in the 1-1 draw against Chicken Inn at Luveve Stadium on Saturday, with FC Platinum having opened a four-point lead after beating Chapungu 2-0 at Mandava Stadium.
It was the second red card for Augusto, who was also dismissed in June at the same venue when Ngezi Platinum lost to Bulawayo Chiefs in a game that also saw midfielder Xolisani Moyo being red-carded.
“We are worried and the fact that it has happened to the same player speaks volumes about the player in question, although I thought this time it was a bit different. Last time he got a second yellow card for remonstration against the referee but today (Saturday) I thought the decision was a bit harsh, particularly the second one. But it is something which is very worrying as a coach and you really want to improve on that. These cards will affect us going forward. I am not quite happy about the way we are picking up cards and it’s something which we really have to go back, sit down with the boys and talk about,” Ndiraya said.
Augusto will miss the mid-week game against Shabanie Mine tomorrow at Baobab Stadium.
However, Ndiraya is happy with his side’s run so far having gone four matches without a defeat as Ngezi Platinum attempts to catch up with FC Platinum, while Chicken Inn also close in.
“At the moment all the 17 teams’ eyes are on FC Platinum. I am happy we are still within touching distance after this very difficult encounter. We just need to manage the remaining 12 games and see what happens. We are getting into a very difficult phase now. The next five games will not be easy for us, but we just have to manage and keep the pressure on FC Platinum. What is important is to focus on the next match and make sure we collect maximum points at home. I am happy so far. I just hope we will maintain the form and make sure that we collect as many points as possible and try to reduce the gap in the next five games,” he said.
After Shabanie, they have two away matches against Mutare City and Highlanders before heading back home to host ZPC Kariba.