Ngezi in Shabanie Mine test

HARARE - Ngezi Platinum Stars made clear their intentions to win this year’s Castle Lager Premiership title at the start of the season.

And they threatened to turn this season into a cakewalk after Tonderai Ndiraya’s charges went for 14 games without tasting defeat at the start of the current campaign a period in which they managed 12 wins and two draws.

While Madamburo established themselves as serious title contenders, their progress suffered a huge setback when at some point they went on a four-game losing streak allowing FC Platinum to open a commanding lead at the top of the table.

They, however, worked their way back to reduce the gap at the top with FC Platinum to just two points, but Ndiraya’s charges came unstuck last weekend when they were held to a 1-1 draw by rejuvenated Chicken Inn.

That result against the Gamecocks, which could have been worse, proved not just a blip, but a huge reality check for Ndiraya in their quest for a maiden title as they have never been the same since experiencing that bad patch.

Today, Ndiraya welcomes Shabanie Mine at Baobab Stadium hoping to quickly bounce back to winning ways and keep pace with log leaders FC Platinum, who are in Harare for a date against struggling Harare City.

And while Shabanie Mine are currently anchoring the log table, the Zvishavane-based side has never made it easy for Ngezi Platinum Stars in recent years.

In the reverse fixture at Maglas Stadium, Shabanie Mine rallied from behind to force a 1-1 draw after Ngezi Platinum had taken an early lead in that match.

Ndiraya and his charges, however, will be banking on home advantage to collect maximum points.

After the fighting spirit against Chicken Inn, Ndiraya will be hoping his boys replicate the same performance.

“I think it’s a point gained. Chicken Inn are no push overs and are a strong team.

“The last time we were here we dropped all the three points and it’s an improvement on our part,” Ndiraya said after their match against Chicken Inn.

“I can only give credit to the boys for giving a spirited performance against a good side like Chicken Inn.

“They really fought hard for the point and it’s quite commendable.

“I hope they will maintain the same level going forward.”

Shabanie Mine are desperate for maximum points if they entertain any hopes of surviving relegation this season.

After 22 rounds of action the asbestos miners are at the bottom of the table with 15 points and cannot afford to drop more points.

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