Ngezi Platinum Stars have suffered a body blow following the injury to new acquisition, Simba Nhivi, as they relaunch their bid to seize control of the title race against fellow platinum miners and reigning champions FC Platinum.
BY Kevin Mapasure
With FC Platinum having already secured the ticket to the next Caf Champions League that kicks off towards the end of the year, the top-flight league’s main prize has become worthier for Ngezi, who also have an ambition of making an impression in the African safari.
The championship this year comes with a ticket to the 2019-20 Caf Champions League and Ngezi have gone out in full force to wrest the title away from their rivals FC Platinum.
Having lost Terrence Dzvukamanja to Bidvest Wits of South Africa, Ngezi used their financial lure to prise away Nhivi from Caps United.
Just as he started his new job, Nhivi suffered a hand injury that is likely to keep him out for weeks and will see him miss out a part of the title charge.
Nhivi suffered the injury during training on Monday and by yesterday, Ngezi were waiting for a medical report to ascertain the extent of the injury and the time that he will be out.
The club confirmed the injury, but did not shed light on how long it will keep him out.
Dzvukamanja was Ngezi’s main source of goals, having scored eight of their 32 goals so far this season.
Nhivi, who will definitely miss the weekend clash against Nichrut, had scored five goals for Caps before his sensational switch to the well-resourced platinum miners.
Ngezi will be looking to maintain pressure on FC Platinum at the top when they take on relegation-bound Nichrut at the Baobab Stadium on Saturday.
The top two teams are currently separated by two points and none can afford a slip-up at this stage.
FC Platinum have gone for three matches without a win, while Ngezi recovered from a four-match losing streak to record victories over Triangle and Dynamos before the season took a break for the national elections.
As the league resumes, both teams will be looking to kick off with wins as they face sides that occupy the relegation places.
Ngezi will be full of confidence, playing at their home ground, where they have only lost once this season. Nichrut, on the other hand, have only recorded two wins away from home and have the second lowest goals tally in the league with just 15 so far this season.
Having conducted some transfer business that has seen the arrival of travelled striker Roderick Mutuma, they have seen a change in fortunes, having won two of their last three matches.
FC Platinum have a tricky fixture as they take on Bulawayo City at Barbourfields on Saturday, seeking to return to winning ways.
All of Bulawayo City’s four wins have come at home this season, but all of them have been against teams in and around the relegation zone.
FC Platinum will present a different challenge to them as they start life under the mentorship of Bekithemba Ndlovu following the sacking of Amini Phiri.
Norman Mapeza’s side have travelled to Bulawayo twice this season, winning against Chicken Inn, while they were one of Bulawayo Chiefs’ casualties.