Ndiraya lauds Ngezi's mental strength

HARARE - Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya has credited his team’s fine run thus far in the Castle Lager Premiership to the mental toughness of his players.

Madamburo are unbeaten after 14 rounds of action to sit top of the table with 38 points, three ahead of second placed FC Platinum.

This is a massive improvement by Ndiraya’s charges, who at this stage last season had amassed 27 points.

Despite the season yet to reach the halfway mark, Ngezi Platinum Stars are already being tipped as firm favourites to land this year’s championship.

Ngezi have already beaten all the local giants Dynamos (1-0), CAPS United (1-2), Highlanders (1-0) and Chicken Inn (1-0) which Ndiraya credits to the team’s mental strength.

“So far, we have managed to rotate our squad to keep them in the freshest condition possible and I’m sure that’s what keeps us going,” Ndiraya said.

“We have a number of players who have played quite a number of games but we have managed to change the team around and it has kept us moving well. Most importantly, we have a different mentality this year than last season.

“Yes, last year’s team was good but I thought the mentality wasn’t really up there, we lacked the required experience. But this year, we recruited quite a number of players with the right mentality, the mentality to work hard and the mentality not to relax.

“And that has kept us going. Our players are forever hungry, they approach each and every match with the same hunger and I hope we will maintain the same levels of focus and mentality going forward.”

Ngezi’s biggest test this season is, however, likely to come next weekend when they host reigning champions FC Platinum at Baobab Stadium.

But before that potential titanic clash, Ngezi have a tricky date against Bulawayo Chiefs on Sunday at Luveve Stadium.

The log leaders will, however, be without the services of versatile defender Keith Murera, who is suspended after picking up three yellow cards in the previous matches.

Murera has been crucial to Ngezi’s progress this year featuring in all their matches thus far.

But Ndiraya will not be short in replacements in that department as he boasts of a number of quality players who can easily fit in the void.

Fixtures

Today: Black Rhinos v Chicken Inn (NSS)

Saturday: FC Platinum v Shabanie Mine (Mandava), Herentals v Nichrut FC (NSS), Harare City v Highlanders (Rufaro), Bulawayo City v Yadah FC (Barbourfields)

SUNDAY: CAPS United v Mutare City (NSS), Chapungu v ZPC Kariba (Ascot), Bulawayo Chiefs v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Luveve), Triangle v Dynamos (Gibbo)

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