BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE Ngezi Platinum Stars Under-19 coach Clifton Kadurira is bracing up for a tough Axis Solution Super 8 quarterfinal challenge when his injury ravaged side host flamboyant Northern Region Soccer League team Golden Eagles at the Baobab on Saturday.
Golden Eagles, who are under the tutelage of former Warriors striker Gilbert Mushangazhike, are tipped to join Simba Bhora and Herentals Under-20 in the inaugural knockout competition.
Mushangazhike and his experienced side only managed a goalless draw when they visited Mhondoro-Ngezi in the league on April 1 and will be looking to record a win this time around.
Kadurira, who has been coach of the Ngezi Platinum senior team in the past, bemoaned the number of injuries the team has ahead of the big clash against one of the top teams in the division.
“This match has come at a time when we have as many as eight injuries in the team which make it an even more difficult encounter. Golden Eagles also have an experienced squad with the likes of Chris Samakweri, Raymond Uchena and Dominic Mukandi among others with premier league experience,” the coach also known as Somalia told Newsday Sport.
“We have a developmental side with many injuries but we have to pick the strongest team to do the job with the available players. I always tell the lads that they have to be prepared for these kinds of matches if they dream of playing at the highest level.
“For me in Cup matches there is nothing like home advantage but the team that plays well in those 90 minutes is the one that will win the game. So we are not counting on playing this match at home,” he said.
Golden Eagles currently sit second in the Northern Region Division One league with 35 points from 16 matches, one behind leaders Simba Bhora on 36.
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Simba Bhora were the first team to book a place in the last four of the competition following 4 – 0 drubbing of Chegutu Pirates in Shamva while Herentals Under-20 needed a penalty shootout to overcome Black Mambas in the other last eight tie.
On Sunday, Trojan Stars will host Commando Bullets to complete the quarterfinals fixtures.
Pan African ICT company Axis Solutions unveiled a US$ 20 000 sponsorship package for the Axis Super 8 Cup in October last year and has also promised to pour more funds into grassroots football.