Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THERE’S something special about Tonderai Ndiraya and his Ngezi Platinum Stars outfit that is threatening to run away with the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title. They have remained humble despite being at the top of the table and being the only unbeaten side.
The platinum rich side tops the table with 29 points from a possible 33. They lead champions FC Platinum by three points.
On Sunday, Ngezi showed character by coming from a goal down to beat former champions Caps United 2-1 at the National Sports Stadium.
Ndiraya’s boys should be commended for their never die attitude as they refused to be cowed by Caps, a team they had never beaten in a Premiership game in Harare.
Strikes by red-hot Terrence Dzukamanja and grafting midfielder James Nguluve powered Ngezi to a memorable victory after Caps had gone ahead through John Zhuwawu’s strike.
Ngezi now have nine wins and two draws. Ndiraya cut short his boys’ celebrations, saying they should focus on the next game.
“We’ve got a 24-hour rule; when we play and we win, we celebrate for 24 hours. We will not be distracted from our focus, we’ve played 11 games and we still have 69 points to play for. It’s still a long journey. We will not fool ourselves and say the victory against Caps United will hand us the title. We need to stay focused, start thinking of our next match against Bulawayo City, who have a new coach, and that is going to be a tricky assignment,” said Ndiraya.
By beating Caps, Ngezi moved closer to completing the beating of “giants”, having already felled Dynamos, Highlanders and Chicken Inn. They’re yet to play FC Platinum.
“Last year we lost lots of points against the so-called small teams and what we want is to improve on that. Playing against big sides is not that difficult because the players are self motivated,” said Ndiraya.
Ngezi are not only running away with the championship, they are the most lethal side with 18 goals and their defence has only conceded three times.
It’s such statistics and a number of their players’ ability to score that makes them real championship contenders.
They also have assembled a good side with experienced players such as goalkeeper Donovan Bernard, defender Liberty Chakoroma, midfielders Xolisani Moyo, Walter Mukanga, Nguluve and Tinashe Chipunza as well as forwards Dzukamanja and Clive Augusto.
While Ngezi celebrated maximum points, defending champions FC Platinum dropped points at home following a 0-0 against fifth-placed Triangle United.
Highlanders squandered lots of scoring opportunities to settle for a goalless draw away to Yadah. Bosso held onto third position with 21 points, eight behind Ngezi. Highlanders face Caps United in their next game at Barbourfields Stadium.
Former champions Chicken Inn blew an opportunity to topple Bosso by drawing 0-0 with Chapungu.
Dynamos moved into the top eight for the first time this season with a 1-0 win over Bulawayo Chiefs.
DeMbare might have won the game against Chiefs, but they are a pale shadow of their yesteryear menace, as they were outplayed by the new boys.
Dynamos coach Biggie Zuze has a lot to do to return DeMbare to their former powerhouse status.
However, the victory should give the Dynamos players confidence heading into their next game against FC Platinum in Harare.