BY HENRY MHARA
NGEZI PLATINUM STARS…..0
NGEZI Platinum Stars forward Tichaona Mabvura is a serious injury doubt for the Chibuku Super Cup final against Highlanders on Saturday after he hobbled off the pitch early on in their rearranged Premier Soccer League match against Black Rhinos at Rufaro Stadium yesterday morning.
The former Dynamos star only lasted for 10 minutes of the match that kicked off at 10am.
The game had been postponed from Sunday because of a waterlogged pitch.
Ngezi coach Rodwell Dhlakama made wholesale changes to his starting line-up yesterday and it was clear that his eyes were firmly on the cup final set for Barbourfields.
Mabvura was one of the only four regulars who were named in the starting eleven and he came off the worst following a tackle by Rhinos defender James Mukombwe. Already sweating over the fitness of injured Nelson Ketala, Dhlakama will be praying that Mabvura will recover in time for the big match against Highlanders.
“These are some of the by-products of playing against a physical team, especially on a muddy surface like this one,” Dhlakama said. “You end up losing some players, but we will keep our heads up. We will see how we can work around it and manage to do the job on Saturday.”
Dhlakama said the team doctors were yet to determine the severity of the injury, which looked like a knock on the sheen.
This will be the second time Ngezi will be featuring in the Chibuku Super Cup final after lifting the cup in 2016 after a 3-1 win over FC Platinum.
The Chibuku Super Cup is the biggest domestic cup competition in the country and the winner will represent the country in the Caf Confederation Cup next year.
“The final is important for me, for the team and the community so we have to win that one… there are no two ways about it. We will try as much as we can to get the trophy. But qualifying for the final alone is an achievement because there are so many big teams who fell by the wayside. So it’s good that we are there, for the team and for me as an individual,” Dhlakama said.
Despite fielding a second string side in yesterday’s encounter, Dhlakama’s men dominated possession, but the final pass was disappointing.
Barnabas Mushunje, who came in for Mabvura and James Ngulube wasted the good chances that Ngezi created while Francesco Zekumbawira and Melvin Mekiwa came close for Rhinos.
“We need to polish up the grey areas that we noted today for the Saturday match. It was a good training game for us. It’s disappointing though that we couldn’t pick all the three points, but a draw away from home is not a bad result,” Dhlakama noted.
Black Rhinos: B Mwandimutsira, J Mukombwe, B Homora, T Jaravani, F Banda, M Mukumba, M Mekiwa, W Taderera (M Demera, 84′), L Murape (A Gahadzikwa, 66′), K Nyakudanga, F Zekumbawira (O Mukuradare, 78′)
Ngezi Platinum Stars: N Chadya, K Bulaji, M Mlilo, M Kwinjo (Q Amini, 73′), F Mukarati, A Makopa, W Makuva, M Mushonga, T Mabvura (B Mushunje, 11′), J Ngulube (D Teguru, 64′), K Murera