Ngezi Platinum Stars sack Ndiraya

HARARE - Ngezi Platinum Stars board yesterday made a surprising decision to sack coach Tonderai Ndiraya with just five games to go before 2018 Castle Lager Premiership season ends.

The rumour mill then went into overdrive when the news broke late yesterday afternoon with Harare City’s coach Mark Harrison and former Warriors and Dynamos gaffer Kalisto Pasuwa being tipped to replace Ndiraya.

The sacking came as a response to Madamburo defeat to bottom side Bulawayo City at the weekend which left the club five points behind log leaders FC Platinum.

However, with still 15 points to fight for before the season ended, Ndiraya still had a chance to win the title with Ngezi considering the club still has to play FC Platinum in the penultimate match of the season.

Ngezi Platinum secretary general Cloete Munjoma said they had parted company with Ndiraya vie mutual consent. 

“Ngezi Platinum Stars FC wishes to announce the departure of coach...Ndiraya from the team through mutual separation agreement,” Munjoma said in a statement.

“Tonderai joined Ngezi Platinum when the team was promoted to the Premier Soccer League. In their maiden season in the PSL, Tonderai led the team to finish off in a respectable seventh position as well as clinching the Chibuku Super Cup trophy.

“The board and management of Ngezi Platinum would like to thank Tonderai for his commitment to the team for the past two and a half years.

“We have no doubt that he will continue to succeed as a young coach and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”    

It seems Ndiraya was cut loose due to the Ngezi board’s excessive desire to win their maiden Premiership title.

Madamburo are only in their third season in the top tier league but have already set themselves high standards due to the resources they put in the club.

Despite a huge war chest, their cousins FC Platinum had to wait seven years before they finally won their maiden championship last year.

The FC Platinum board unreservedly backed their coach Norman Mapeza, who joined the club in August 2014.

In his first season, Mapeza was able to lead the club to fourth place finish before going one step further in 2015.

In 2016, Pure Platinum Play blew what looked like a good lead before finishing the season in second place behind CAPS United. Still their board retained faith in Mapeza.

The Zvishavane-based side’s trust in the former Warriors defender and captain was finally repaid last year when they finally landed the title.

Ngezi seemed to have pressed the panic button early on when a little bit of faith in Ndiraya might have taken the team far.

Speaking with reporters after the defeat to Bulawayo City at the weekend, Ndiraya had hoped to turn around his team’s fortunes but unfortunately, his time had already run out.                

“I think it was a very frustrating afternoon for us as a team; we conceded a very silly goal which I thought we could have avoided,” Ndiraya said.

“The goal put some bit of steam out of us in the first half and we couldn’t recover. We tried our best in the second half but we couldn’t find that goal despite dominating the entire half.

“We were very much in control of the game but the final pass was not there for us. The chances we got, we could not be very clinical in front of goal.

“Hopefully, we will correct this in the matches to come. We are now banking on other teams to stop FC Platinum. By the time we play them (FC Platinum), we will be somewhere there close.”

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