DeMbare’s rough road

BY HENRY MHARA

DYNAMOS coach Tonderai Ndiraya is not worried about the team’s unforgiving fixture schedule, which will see the Harare giants play most of the teams that finished in the top eight last season consecutively.

That tough run starts with tomorrow’s clash against Ndiraya’s former club, Ngezi Platinum Stars, at Rufaro Stadium before travelling to champions FC Platinum.

They will face Chapungu at home after that and travel to Bulawayo for the blockbuster collision with one of their biggest rivals, Highlanders.

DeMbare also have a date against Manica Diamonds coming up soon, while Harare derbies against Harare City and Caps United are also on the horizon.

While Ndiraya admits that the games will test his young squad, he believes DeMbare will be well set if they can put together a strong run during that period.

“We have been preparing mentally because difficult matches are coming,” Ndiraya said. “The next seven or eight matches are quite difficult for us, because we are facing the teams which finished in the top half of the log last season. We also face Manica Diamonds and Chapungu, who have both been doing well. So all the remaining matches up until the mid-season break are difficult. But it’s a fixture schedule which we think we can take head-on and come out with some good results.”

Ndiraya took over with the club going through a rebuilding process with a young and inexperienced squad.

“These teams we are facing against have good squads. Their players have been together for quite some time and that is a big challenge for us, but we are confident. I’m glad that we confront this situation after picking some good results. We will really have to find a plan as a club on how we can go about these matches, so that we get good results.”

Injuries continue to stalk the Harare giants as they bid to recover from their horrible start to the season, with at least three players sidelined again this weekend.
Junior Nkahan, nicknamed Neymar, and Ghanaian Robert Sackey are still down with injuries, while Tawanda Chisi is suspended. Young Tinotenda Muringai is back after serving a one match suspension.

“The players have been picking injuries because of the low fitness levels they had. But now that the fitness is picking up, we expect them to be strong and avoid some of these injuries. We are optimistic that in the next three weeks, we should be at a level where those injuries will be a thing of the past. I’m pleased with what we have done so far, by what the players are getting to. When we are on full fitness, we will really be a strong team, difficult to beat and which can pick good results.”

Ngezi have had an indifferent season so far, which stems from a very terrible record on the road, where they have not won a single match this season.

They are arriving in Harare on the back of three defeats away to Triangle, Hwange and ZPC Kariba. The last time they were in the capital, they were held to a goalless draw by Herentals.

But they have a good record at home, where they have won three times and drawn once. It is their form on the road that should be worrying coach Erol Akbay, who replaced Ndiraya, with a clear mandate to win the league this season.

The Dutchman will be hoping that his side will turn the corner this weekend against a fragile-looking Dynamos side.

Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures

Today: Chicken Inn v Black Rhinos (Luveve), Herentals v Chapungu (National Sports Stadium), Yadah v FC Platinum (Rufaro), ZPC Kariba v Manica Diamonds (Nyamhunga)

Tomorrow: Triangle v Bulawayo Chiefs (Gibbo), Mushowani Stars v Harare City (National Sports Stadium), Hwange v Caps United (Colliery), TelOne v Highlanders (Barbourfields),

Dynamos v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Rufaro)

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