Madamburo retains faith in Chiragwi

Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Takesure Chiragwi (third from right) and his assistant Klifton Kadurira (third from left) pose for a photo with the club leadership at the annual award ceremony in Mhondoro-Ngezi last week.

NGEZI Platinum Stars (NPS)'s top hierarchy is keeping faith in club coach Takesure Chiragwi who they believe is the right man to lead the team in their Caf Champions League maiden appearance next year.

The recently crowned Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions will make their bow in the continent's premier club competition next season after lifting their first ever league title in the just ended season.

Chiragwi, in his full season in charge of the Mhondoro-based side, managed to stir the team to domestic glory and also finish as runners-up in the Chibuku Super Cup, the country's biggest knockout cup competition.

But some media reports earlier this week indicated that the NPS executive is not fully convinced with his abilities and is lining up a replacement for the youthful coach who was voted this season's Coach of the Year.

The reports suggested that the club has already identified an "experienced coach," to take charge of the team when they make their debut in the Champions League.

The article, which NPS chairman Leonard Musariri dismissed as "reckless and complete hogwash," named former Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa and former SuperSport gaffer Kaitano Tembo as Chiragwi's possible replacements.

NPS president Takawira Maswiswi said Chiragwi has the executive's full support and they believe he is the right man to take the team to the next stage.

Speaking at the club's annual player of the year awards ceremony last  Thursday, Maswiswi confirmed Chiragwi will be in charge of the team next year as they look to make a mark in the Caf Champions League.

"As a club we are absolutely proud of our coach," Maswiswi said. "In his first full season as coach of NPS, he has managed to achieve so much. I had a chat with him and he told me his plans, his vision and what he wants to see happen with the team next year. I'm quite happy with the thoughts that he shared with me. I look forward to our African safari with Takesure (Chiragwi) next year."

Besides winning the league trophy, NPS provided the Soccer Star of the Year winner in captain Qadr Amini, while goalkeeper Nelson Chadya and striker Takunda Benhura were also voted among the eleven best players of the season. Benhura scored thirteen goals to win the league's Golden Boot award.

Madamburo, as Ngezi is affectionately known, also picked the most disciplined team of the season award, an accolade they also won last year.

"We had the best season that we could have," Maswiswi remarked, before adding that the team was looking forward to impressing in Africa.

"It has always been our dream to make a mark on the African safari and certainly we will do so. Next year will be quite exciting. We have big plans and bigger hopes for it. It will certainly be a more challenging year but when I look at what we have done this year and the foundation that has been laid for NPS, I have every bit of confidence that we are equal to the task and I look forward to next year."

This is not the first time that the club will be taking part in continental football.

Following their triumph in the Chibuku Super Cup in their debut season in the top-flight league in 2016, Madamburo earned themselves a ticket to represent the country in the Caf Confederations Cup the following year, but could not go beyond the first round of the continent's second tier football club competition.

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