Ngezi Platinum in dreamland

HARARE - A  solitary Liberty Chakoroma strike was all Ngezi Platinum Stars needed to dump Bulawayo giants Highlanders out of the Chibuku Super Cup and progress to the final.  

Chakoroma made no mistake after Ngezi won a penalty on 62 minutes. Bosso defender Peter Muduhwa handled inside the box under pressure to clear his lines, which all but sealed the victory for the newboys as Chakoroma successfully converted.

Ngezi Platinum Stars’ victory sets the stage for an intriguing final between the two platinum mining sides after FC Platinum triumphed 3-0 against Harare City in the other semi-final on Saturday.

The defeat to the Bulawayo giants dashed their dream for a league and cup double. Highlanders are now left to fight for the Castle Premiership title if they entertain any hopes of ending the season with some silverware.

With three matches left in the Castle Premiership title race, Bosso trail log leaders CAPS United by a single point with 53 points. They will be counting on some twist and turns to topple the Green Machine from the top of the log.

Coming into yesterday’s match, Bosso were on a six-match winning streak but they came unstuck from a disciplined performance by Ngezi Platinum Stars who are in their debut season in the top flight league.

With many having not given Tonderai Ndiraya’s charges a chance against an in-form Highlanders, the former Dynamos coach had the last laugh defeating the much-fancied opponents.

“We are a small team while Highlanders are the giants of Zimbabwean football so coming here to Barbourfields and getting a positive result is a huge achievement,” an elated Ndiraya said after match.

“We are over the moon, the objective was to try to make it to the final and we did just that. Contrary to sentiments by our opposition coach that we were coming here to park the bus, our game plan was actually to play an open game.”

Backed by their multitudes of supporters, the Bulawayo giants were the first to settle creating some early chances but were mostly denied by Ngezi Platinum Stars’ impressive goalkeeper Nelson Chadya.

For Ngezi Platinum Stars in the early stages of the match, it was only a combination of poor finishing and at times good defending that prevented Highlanders from getting goals.

Bosso striker Gabriel Nyoni could have opened the scoring in the 16th minute but watched his header miss the target by a few inches after connecting a Tendai Ngulube cross.

Arguably the man-of-the-match for commendably marshalling his defence Patson Jaure almost gifted Nyoni with a chance in the 30th minute after failing to clear inside the box but the Bosso man directed his shot wide with Chadya to beat.

Ngezi Platinum Stars, however, came back fighting in the second half and were duly rewarded when Chakoroma converted from 12 yards to seal a memorable victory. Bosso tried to come back into the game but found the Ngezi defence unyielding.

After the match, Bosso gaffer Erol Akbay was a disappointed man.

“I’m disappointed with the result because we had hoped to make it to the final. We failed to play compact football and allowed our opponents to come at us,” said Akbay.

FC Platinum and Ngezi will now battle it out for the Chibuku Super Cup $75 000 winners’ cheque and the right to represent the country in the Caf Confed Cup.

Ndiraya will surely be out for redemption in this year’s after losing out in last year’s final to Harare City, while he still interim coach at Harare giants Dynamos.

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