Crisis-hit Shabanie Mine gaffer Alexio Sigion has warned Ngezi Platinum not to underestimate them ahead of their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clash at the Baobab Stadium this afternoon.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
The Chinda boys are deep in the murky waters of relegation, with a meagre 15 points at the bottom of the log, having lost 2-1 in their previous encounter to fellow strugglers Mutare City.
They have won just two matches in 22 attempts so far this season and look doomed for the drop.
Their problems have been compounded by a financial crisis which triggered a mass walk-out of some of their best players during the mid-season transfer window.
But they remain determined to beat the chop, warning title-chasing Ngezi Platinum Stars that they will face a bruising battle.
They were the first team to salvage a point from Ngezi in the reverse fixture played at Maglas Stadium in April.
However, things have changed since then as Shabanie are yet to register a win since the mid-season break and Sigion admits that their Premier Soccer League status is at stake.
“It is not easy to lead a team that is so much embroiled in a number of struggles, but that does not mean we are to be underestimated by any team in the league,” Sigion said.
“We are still as much determined to save ourselves from being relegated because there is still a number of games to be played before the curtain goes down.
“Right now we do not need to focus so much on-off-the pitch problems bedeviling our team and remain focused to save this brand.
“It has been tough, but I am doing my best to motivate the team, though some of the players feel discouraged especially with the dire financial state at the team.
“But after every game, we need to move on and focus on the end goals of this institution,” Sigion said.
Since Takesure Chiragwi’s departure 16 games into the league, Shabanie Mine have struggled to mobilise a mandatory 17-member team while also failing to meet their camping and travelling expenses.
Things have remained grim for the impoverished side whose last win came on week 17 after they beat Herentials 2-1 at Rufaro Stadium.
Ngezi Platinum will be looking to keep pace with FC Platinum who sit at the top as they take on Harare City at Rufaro Stadium this afternoon.
After playing out a draw in their last match, Ngezi Platinum Stars will view the game as a must-win encounter, especially considering how good they have been at home, where they have beaten everyone who has visited them so far, except for FC Platinum who came out with all three points.