Easter blockbuster as Ngezi Platinum target DeMbare

HARARE - The Castle Lager Premiership swings into full action this afternoon with early pacesetters Ngezi Platinum Stars welcoming troubled Dynamos at Baobab Stadium.

Tonderai Ndiraya’s charges have a 100 percent record so far following back-to-back 2-0 wins against Herentals and Triangle and sit second on the log table behind defending champions FC Platinum, who are also on six points.

That positive run will, however, come under scrutiny this afternoon when they face a limping DeMbare side desperate to register their first win of the season after only managing a defeat and a draw in their opening two matches.

After finishing third last season behind FC Platinum and Dynamos, Madamburo are hoping to launch a sustainable title challenge this season.

For the better part of last season, especially during the early stages, the results had favoured the platinum miners and many had tipped them to walk-away with the title in their second year in the top flight league.

However, Ndiraya’s charges choked at the crucial stage after being held 2-2 at home by Chicken Inn before losing 2-1 to FC Platinum away at Mandava Stadium which eventually ended their title aspirations with only a game to go before the season ends.

Speaking ahead of their clash against Dynamos, Ndiraya said they want to avoid last season’s slip-ups that cost them the title.

“I think we are in a good, positive momentum. Now it is focusing on the next game to keep that going,” Ndiraya told the Daily News.

“It is key time for everyone. The fixtures are difficult for everyone. It will be about who does the best and who does the best will be the team who focuses on the next game, on the next result and on the next quality of the game.

“That is what we want to do of course, just focus on our next game and try to do as well as we can.

“We want to avoid last season’s scenario where we started well but fizzled in the later stages. I think momentum will be very key for us.”

On their match against Dynamos, Ndiraya played down the home team’s favourites tag saying: “I don’t think we are favourites. We are facing Dynamos, the biggest team in the country and it’s not going to be any easy for us.

“We don’t want to look at how Dynamos has performed thus far.

“We are just taking it one game at a time. We are fully focused on Dynamos knowing it will not be an easy match and we need to work hard if we are to get maximum points.”

For Dynamos, it however, appears all gloom as reports of disgruntled players continue to emerge from their camp with star forward Christian Ntouba remaining doubtful for the game as he is yet to get his dues from the club.

Ntouba is owed about $16 000 in signing on fees and outstanding allowances.

The Cameroonian’s handlers have stated that the striker will only play if Dynamos deposit at least $8 000 into Ntouba’s account.

Ntouba has so far missed DeMbare’s opening two games against Chicken Inn and Shabanie Mine due to the impasse. 

With Ntouba absent again today, Quality Kangadzi will have to lead the Glamour Boys attack this afternoon.

However, Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa, who missed his team’s 3-3 draw against Shabanie Mine last weekend, is putting on a brave face.

“I think it’s high time that we start winning games. We have been preparing for this game and the guys are looking good and ready to go,” Mutasa told the Daily News.

“It’s not the start that we have wanted. What is important, however, is how we react in our next matches. For now the focus is on the Ngezi Platinum game to see how it goes.”

Elsewhere, CAPS United host champions FC Platinum at the National Sports Stadium desperate for their first win of the season having managed two draws in their opening matches against Harare City and Bulawayo Chiefs.

FC Platinum on the other hand have so far picked two straight wins after they were awarded three points in the opening match after ZPC Kariba refused to travel to Harare for the match before last weekend’s win against Yadah.

ZPC Kariba welcome Herentals at Nyamhunga Stadium while Bulawayo Chiefs entertain neighbours Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium.

Today: Chicken Inn v Mutare City (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum v Dynamos (Baobab), ZPC Kariba v Herentals (Nyamhunga), Yadah FC v Black Rhinos (Rufaro), Bulawayo City v Bulawayo Chiefs (Barbourfields), Chapungu v Harare City (Ascot), CAPS United v FC Platinum (NSS)

Friday: Highlanders v Triangle (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine v Nichrut (Mandava)

Sunday: Herentals v Yadah FC (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v Chapungu (Luveve), Black Rhinos v CAPS United (NSS)

Monday: FC Platinum v Bulawayo City (Mandava), Mutare City v Harare City (NSS), Nichrut v Ngezi Platinum (Ascot), Dynamos v Highlanders (Rufaro), Triangle v ZPC Kariba (Gibbo), Chicken Inn v Shabanie Mine (Luveve)

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