Ndiraya stays grounded

HARARE - Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya has told his charges to keep their feet on the ground as they still have more distance to cover.

The high-riding Mhondoro-Ngezi-based platinum miners beat CAPS United 1-2 at the National Sports Stadium that sent them three points clear at the top of the table ahead of second-placed FC Platinum.

Ngezi’s victory over the Green Machine was their first since gaining promotion into the top flight league to stretch their unbeaten run to 11 matches.

Ngezi are now on 29 points, three ahead of second-placed FC Platinum, who are on 26 points after 11 games of action.

Ndiraya has made his intentions of lifting the title clear, but he does not want his charges to get ahead of themselves as he urged them to keep their feet on the ground if they want to be crowned champions.

“If we are going to think that the victory against CAPS United is going to land us the title, then we will be fooling ourselves. We should remain focused on what we are doing and we fully know what we want to achieve this year,” Ndiraya said.

“I have said we are applying a 24-hour rule in our team. We play, if we win we are happy for 24 hours but then after that we are all back to full focus and focus on the next game. So yes, we celebrate this win, it has been a long time but we need to quickly refocus and focus on our next match which is against Bulawayo City.”

Ndiraya said they are taking each game at a time.

“I think from the onset we said we want to improve from what we did last year, that’s how we are going about our business. In some instances we want to maintain what we did last year,” he said.

“So I thought so far we have done really well, I think the only setback we have is the ZPC Kariba game where last year we won and this year we went there and drew. We went to Shabanie, we dropped points there but I also think we did well because last time we lost there.

“We have come here against CAPS United, we haven’t won here but I thought we have also improved from what we did last year. So that is the mentality which the team has and I hope we keep on going like that.

“We are not going to be distracted from our focus. It’s only 11 matches played, 69 points still to play for, so that’s really a long journey. Yes, we are excited but not really over excited, we remain focused.”

Ndiraya also believes his charges exhibited the required mental strength after coming back from a goal down to bag maximum points.

“I think basically it shows the mental strength we have in the squad. It’s not easy to come from a goal down against a good team like CAPS United and eventually win the game. Not just coming from a goal down but went on to manage the game the way we did the entire second half,” he said.

“I thought we were very good. Of course CAPS United got some chances but they were not clear cut scoring chances. So I thought we managed the game very well, we showed mental strength and the dominance we had in midfield through Tichaona Chipunza and Marlon Mushonga.

“They were very good today they gave good cover to our defence which restricted CAPS United’s long balls.”

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