BY HENRY MHARA
NGEZI Platinum Stars coach Rodwell Dhlakama has picked teams that he thinks will rival his side for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title this season, but omitted Dynamos.
The Mhondoro-Ngezi side has publicly stated its desire to land the championship this year.
Their drubbing of Bulawayo City in the opening match of the season as well as qualification to the finals of the Chibuku Super Cup final served as a warning to their league rivals that they mean business this term.
Asked to pick the teams that could pose a threat to his side’s chances of winning the championship, Dhlakama listed defending champions FC Platinum, Highlanders, Chicken Inn and Caps United.
He, however, made a surprise omission of Dynamos, despite the Harare giants having enjoyed a good run of form in the cup competition.
“Of course, there is Caps United, Highlanders, obviously FC Platinum and Chicken Inn,” Dhakama said.
“There are also some newcomers who are knocking on the door. They want to do well, so we are expecting stiff competition. But when we get into a competition we want to win.”
Dhlakama said the Chibuku Super Cup final will give him a chance to assess his squad.
He said the squad at his disposal is good enough to give him the trophy that has eluded the club since promotion to the topflight league in 2016.
“The chances (of winning the league) are bright if I want to be honest. We played FC Platinum in the preliminary stages of the Chibuku Super Cup, we lost one and won one against the reigning league champions. We also played Chicken Inn in the quarter-finals, they finished second the last time so we managed to assess our squad in those matches in terms of its competence going forward. We are happy with what we saw.”
Ngezi Platinum were one of the biggest winners in the opening round of league fixtures with a 5-0 humiliation of Bulawayo City while FC Platinum thumped WhaWha 6-1.
Caps were held to a goalless draw by ZPC Kariba while Highlanders lost 2-0 to Black Rhinos.
Dynamos beat Yadah Stars 1-0 in controversial circumstances.
“The league is a marathon. It is important that we started on a good note, but we need to remain focussed. There are a lot of games to be played, but starting with a big victory gives us confidence going forward. We need to work hard to keep the momentum,” Dhlakama said.
After the interruption of the league programme last week over referees’ absence, action returns today with the rescheduled round two fixtures.
Ngezi Platinum Stars are away to Highlanders while Dynamos play Triangle at Gibbo Stadium. FC Platinum host Chicken Inn at Mandava Stadium.
Today: Cranborne Bullets v Bulawayo Chiefs (National Sports Stadium)
Tomorrow: FC Platinum v Chicken Inn (Mandava), Yadah v ZPC Kariba (Baobab), Herentals v Black Rhinos (National Sports Stadium), Bulawayo City v Manica Diamonds (Barbourfields), Tenax CS v Whawha (Sakubva)
Sunday: Highlanders v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Barbourfields), Triangle v Dynamos (Gibbo), Caps United v Harare City (National Sports Stadium)
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