Lulu hails positive attitude ahead of Ngezi match

26 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Lulu hails positive attitude ahead of Ngezi match Mandla Mpofu

The Chronicle

Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS coach Mandla Mpofu has hailed his players’ positive attitude ahead of their crucial Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter with high-flying Ngezi Platinum Stars at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.

The rescheduled fixture was part of nine mid-week matches that were cancelled last week after match officials withdrew their services at the instigation of some Zifa board members that had been suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

But after referees took charge of the Chibuku Super Cup semi-finals games last weekend, league action is unlikely to face any disruptions this weekend.
Ngezi demolished Bulawayo City 5-0 in their opening league match at Baobab Stadium, while Bosso were felled 0-2 by Black Rhinos in Harare.

The loss to Rhinos left fans questioning the side’s ability to challenge for league honours.

The last time Ngezi were in town was in the 2019 Chibuku Super Cup final, which they lost 1-0 to Bosso.

In that season, the sides played to two 1-1 stalemates in the league.
Mpofu said his players are ready for the Ngezi challenge.

“After we did not play on Tuesday, we continued with our preparations up to Friday and gave the players a two-day break. On Monday we were back to work. We talked to the boys and psyched them up after what happened last week. Honestly, they were eager to play because this is a big game,” said Mpofu.

He said they also had to manage the players’ anxiety levels, as they feared that football might be put on hold again after referees were ordered not to officiate.

He said his players are motivated and everyone is fighting hard for a starting place after their fears were addressed by the appearance of match officials for last weekend’s cup games.

“As a technical team, we have a selection dilemma because everyone is fighting for a starting place. When l came back from national team duty, the morale in camp was unbelievable and l hope they will take that into the game on Sunday,” he said.

He acknowledged that it’s not going to be an easy fixture.

“They are not in the (Chibuku Super Cup) final by luck; they are a good team that wants to win everything so, it will not be an easy game. We cannot allow them to override us in any position. I am positive, especially given the attitude of the players at training. I am 100 percent positive that they will go out there on Sunday and come out with something positive.

“We have created opportunities, but the goals are not coming. It’s however, a matter of time before we start scoring. We are not getting goals as a team. It’s a collective effort and not about the strikers.”
Sunday’s game will also be of special significance as it will mark the first-time fans return to Barbourfields Stadium in almost two years since sport was affected by rolling levels of lockdowns triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are happy that supporters will be back this weekend. These are the people that drive the team. They will give us an urge come Sunday,” said Mpofu.

Fully vaccinated fans will be allowed into the stadium at a charge of US$3 for rest of the ground, US$5 VIP and US$10 VVIP.

The money is payable in local currency at the prevailing inter-bank rate.

Fans must bring their vaccination and identity cards to be allowed into the stadium.

Castle Lager PSL fixtures

Today: Cranborne Bullets vs Bulawayo Chiefs (National Sports Stadium)
Tomorrow: FC Platinum vs Chicken Inn (Mandava), Yadah vs ZPC Kariba (Baobab), Herentals vs Black Rhinos (National Sports Stadium), Bulawayo City vs Manica Diamonds (Barbourfields), Tenax CS vs Whawha (Sakubva)
Sunday: Highlanders vs Ngezi Platinum Stars (Barbourfields), Triangle vs Dynamos (Gibbo), Caps United vs Harare City (National Sports Stadium).
— @innocentskizoe

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