Ngezi's record under threat

HARARE - Ngezi Platinum Stars’ impeccable home record at Baobab Stadium will come under severe scrutiny on Saturday when they host high-flying Highlanders.

Madamburo, who currently lead the Castle Lager Premiership log standings with 19 points from seven matches, last tasted defeat in the league at home on August 13, 2016 when they went down 0-2 to the now-defunct Bulawayo side How Mine.

Since then Tonderai Ndiraya’s men have gone on a stunning unbeaten run at home in the league which reached 27 games last weekend when they beat Mutare City Rovers 2-1.

During that run, Madamburo have won 21 matches and only drawn six times as they have turned Baobab Stadium into a complete fortress.

The goal difference in those 27 matches is also staggering because they have netted 47 times at a rate of 3.13 goals per game. Ndiraya’s side has only conceded 15 times in the process at a rate of 1.8 goals per game.

The only three teams that have been able to stop Madamburo from scoring at the Baobab are Dynamos, Tsholotsho and Triangle when they were able to hold the home side to goalless draws.

Most sides that have visited Baobab Stadium have struggled to deal with the wet surface preferred by the home team.

Most visiting teams’ players travel to the venue with only football boots suitable for firm grounds which are normally found around the country.

However, Ngezi always make it a point that the Baobab surface is watered before matches for players to use soft ground studs in order to have extra balance.

Against Mutare City at the weekend, Ngezi however, needed a stoppage time goal from midfielder Xolisani Moyo to secure all three points.

“Look, to be quite honest, we were not our usual selves. We didn’t play the way we normally do; it was quite difficult for us,” Ndiraya said after the win.

“What is important is the three points at the end of the day.

No matter how you play, the three points are the most important thing.

“We know how we play and we will try in our next encounter to play our normal game. Look I’m happy; we struggled but I’m happy we won at the end of the day.”

A couple of weeks ago, Ngezi had a 100 percent record in the league before drawing 1-1 with Shabanie Mine at Maglas Stadium before bouncing back with the win over Mutare City.

“Although we dropped points against Shabanie, I thought we were good on the day and we played better than we did against Mutare City so you may play well and don’t get what you want or play badly and get what you want,” Ndiraya said.

“The Highlanders match is going to be a big game for us and you always want to go into such games with a good motivation and I think the Mutare City game is a good motivating factor for our next encounter.

“I’m sure we will get into the Highlanders game with a good frame of mind and play better than we did against City.”

Highlanders come into this game high on confidence and believe they can be the first side to seriously test Ngezi Platinum’s resolve at home.

Bosso are currently in second place on the log with 17 points following five wins and two draws from seven matches.

The youthful Bosso side under new coach Madinda Ndlovu has punched above their weight when many expected them to crumble in the heat of the Castle Lager Premiership.

However, in their last visit to Baobab Stadium on August 26 last year, Bosso put in an insipid performance and were blown away 3-0 by the home side.

The only mitigating factor is that Highlanders were on a freefall shortly after coach Erol Akbay announced he was leaving the club at the end of the season.

Since Ndlovu’s take over, Bosso are now a different animal and by the end of Saturday, his side could be top of the log if they beat Ngezi Platinum.

Fixtures:

Saturday: Mutare City Rovers v FC Platinum (Vengere), Black Rhinos v Bulawayo Chiefs (Rufaro), Herentals v Harare City (NSS), Nichrut v CAPS United (Ascot), Chicken Inn v Yadah (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Highlanders (Baobab), Shabanie Mine v ZPC Kariba (Maglas).

Sunday: Dynamos v Bulawayo City (Rufaro), Triangle United v Chapungu (Gibbo).

Comments (1)

Yaa tione mbiri yavo ndeyechokwadi here

King Sportsman - 28 April 2018

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