Big Baobab battle

…as Caps confront Ngezi

Ngezi Platinum Stars have been here before. They will be meeting Caps United in an important Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match in a title run as they tussle with FC Platinum again like they did last year.

By Kevin Mapasure

Only that this time, Dynamos is not involved in this battle that has seemingly been reduced to a two-team affair after the platinum miners pulled away from the rest.

Unlike last season, however, Ngezi Platinum Stars, will be playing this match at their favourite Baobab Stadium as opposed to last year where they were hosted by the Green Machine at Rufaro and were thrashed 3-0 in the season’s run in.

There has been a bit of a rivalry developing between Ngezi Platinum Stars and Caps United.

Last year the Green Machine was one of the few teams to have collected anything at the Baobab Stadium when they came out with a 2-all draw, albeit a result that angered and frustrated them as they felt they were hard done by the officiating.

Lloyd Chitembwe’s side then won their home match, having also booted Ngezi out of the Chibuku Super Cup at the Baobab.

But this year it was different with Ngezi embarrassing Caps United in front of its home supporters with a 2-1 win at the National Sports Stadium.

All the history between the two sides, where Caps United also have never lost at the Baobab and Ngezi Platinum Stars’ ambitions this term, point to another interesting match between the two sides.

Ngezi Platinum Stars have a proud home record where they rarely drop a point at home, never mind suffer a defeat.

They meet a Caps United side playing free of the baggage of expectation as they have since slipped out of the title matrix even though mathematically they have a chance.

Chitembwe’s team lie 14 points behind Tonderai Ndiraya’s side Ngezi and are a further five adrift of the log leaders FC Platinum.

Ngezi Platinum Stars on the other hand are under pressure to win the title after a lot of investment over the last two years.

Having been booted out of the Chibuku Super Cup by Herentals in their own backyard at the weekend, they only have one avenue to silverware and they can ill afford anything less than a win today.

The question will be about whether Ngezi Patinum Stars will be able to withstand the pressure and outplay Caps United like they did in the first match.

A few things have changed in both camps and Caps seem to have gained better resolve, while Ngezi lost their best player Terrence Dzvukamanja, who moved to South Africa.

The Mhondoro-Ngezi-based side’s forward Donald Teguru believes that despite coming from a weekend setback, they have enough arsenal to get the result they want against Caps United, even though he acknowledges that they face one of the toughest opponents in the league.

“We are ready for this game and we are confident despite coming from a defeat in the cup competition,” Teguru said.

“Remember they beat us once at home in the Chibuku Cup, so it’s going to be a different game tomorrow. We just have to approach this game with the correct mindset. If we win, it will be a good thing, but there will still be six more matches to play after that. Last time we drew with them at Baobab Stadium in a league match, this is a different game. What I know is that this is going to be another exciting match. Caps United are a very good team with a lot of experience. The last time we played them in Harare, we went into the match having never beaten them before, but all that changed. I am sure this one will be another interesting one.”

The Ngezi Platinum Stars, Caps United match is one of a full midweek programme across the country today.

Today’s Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures

Mutare City Rovers v ZPC Kariba (Vengere), Chicken Inn v Chapungu (Luveve), Nichrut v Harare City (Ascot), Herentals v Black Rhinos (NSS), Shabanie v Bulawayo city, Ngezi Platinum Stars v Caps United (Baobab), Triangle v FC Platinum (Gibbo), Highlanders v Yadah (BF), Dynamos v Bulawayo Chiefs (Rufaro).

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