Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
NGEZI Platinum Stars coach, Tonderai Ndiraya, says his high-flying team have to find a way of dealing with the league’s lightweights ahead of their Castle Lager Premiership tie against Bulawayo City at their Baobab fortress this Saturday.
The platinum miners are in high spirits following the 2-1 away win over Harare giants Caps United in their last match.
“All the games are difficult for us. In fact, it’s actually easier to play the big teams than the smaller teams obviously because of the mentality which tends to creep into players.
“When we play the so-called small teams we tend to relax and become overconfident and sometimes we drop points. If you look at the games we played last year we also dropped points against small teams.
“Of course, we lost some games against the big sides but it’s the small teams that really gave us problems and to be quite frank we treat all the matches the same.
“There is some bit of pressure with the big teams but we treat all the games with the same mentality because we get the same points out of those matches.
If you win it’s three points, nothing more.
“So what we are focused on as a team is to get maximum points in each and every game that we play,” said Ndiraya.
Bulawayo City, who are in their third year of Premiership football, have started the campaign on the wrong footing and are currently 13th in the log standings with 10 points.
Amakhosi have started picking points since the arrival of new coach Amini Soma Phiri in their dressing room.
Ngezi Platinum Stars are top of the table following a superb run of nine wins and two draws.
They are unbeaten at home in 31 matches spread over two years.
Despite opening a three-point cushion at the apex of the table, the Mhondoro side’s serious competition in the championship race is from fellow platinum miners, FC Platinum.
Norman Mapeza’s men, who are the defending champions, have maintained the pressure since the beginning of the season and will be hoping for a positive result when they face giants Dynamos at Rufaro on Sunday.
FC Platinum suffered a setback when they were held to goalless draw at home by a resurgent Triangle in their last outing while DeMbare were winning at Bulawayo Chiefs.
Another interesting duel is expected when Mark Harrison’s Harare City face off with Joey Antipas’ Chicken Inn at Luveve on Saturday.
Saturday: Nichrut v Bulawayo Chiefs (Ascot), Chicken Inn v Harare City (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Bulawayo City (Baobab), ZPC Kariba v Yadah (Nyamhunga)
Sunday: Highlanders v CAPS United (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine v Chapungu (Maglas), Dynamos v FC Platinum (Rufaro), Triangle United v Black Rhinos (Gibbo), Mutare City Rovers v Herentals (Vengere).