It’s a Platinum Race
Ngezi Platinum Stars and FC Platinum have virtually turned the 2018 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League into a platinum race after further pulling away from the chasing pack with convincing wins at the weekend.
The financial muscle is evident on the field where they continue to post positive results and display beautiful football while their rivals have been enveloped by inconsistencies.
Ngezi and FC Platinum’s players are clearly well motivated and their main focus is solely on playing football, while players from other teams have to worry about recurring welfare issues.
Other teams’ players have to live on pledges, while the platinum sides’ personnel are paid their dues on time.
Ngezi took their unbeaten home run, which stretches back from 2016, to a massive 31 games as they clobbered Bulawayo City 4-0. Ngezi’s last defeat at home was against How Mine on August 13, 2016, when they fell 0-2.
Ngezi are the only side yet to lose and top the league table with 32 points from 12 games. FC Platinum are close behind on 29 points.
So convincing have been Tonderai Ndiraya’s men that they didn’t even miss the absence of experienced central midfielders Xolisani Moyo and Walter Mukanga, who were serving suspension when they hammered Bulawayo City.
Ngezi have netted 22 times, the highest in the league so far, with their winger Terence Dzukamanja leading the league’s scorers chart with seven goals.
Ngezi have also been solid at the back, conceding just three goals in 12 matches.
It is their ability to defend and score that makes them prime favourites to land the title. Consistency can see Ngezi wresting the title away from champions FC Platinum.
Ngezi takes on Chapungu in Gweru tomorrow, knowing that any slip-up could see FC Platinum closing the gap should they beat Nichrut on Thursday.
FC Platinum head into the Midlands derby with Nichrut bubbling with confidence after handing Dynamos their sixth defeat of the season in Sunday’s 2-0 win.
The gap between FC Platinum and third-placed Highlanders is seven points.
Bosso, who take solace in that they are building a team to challenge for honours next season, are in the same bracket with Chicken Inn, Harare City, Triangle United and Caps United, in terms of inconsistency.
Bosso moved one point up to 22 points following their goalless draw against seventh-placed Caps United, who still dream of winning the title, despite being 15 points behind leaders Ngezi.
“We still have a very good chance to finish the season in a sensational way. We believe we have the apparatus to achieve our goal,” said Lloyd Chitembwe, the Caps United coach.
Caps United need to convert chances they create and win games if their title dream is to be realised.
Caps United face ZPC Kariba, who recorded their second win of the season by beating Yadah 1-0 to move out of the relegation zone.
Chicken Inn drew 1-1 with Harare City in a game that the latter were in firm control of. Harare City displayed beautiful football, forcing Chicken Inn to chase for the better part of the game. With a bit of luck, Harare City could have returned to the capital with maximum points.
Chicken Inn faces Bulawayo Chiefs, who bagged a point in a 1-1 scoreline against Nichrut, at Luveve Stadium tomorrow.
On Thursday, Highlanders will be out to end a three-match winless streak and mount woes on Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium.
Saturday: Nichrut 1-1 Bulawayo Chiefs, Chicken Inn 1-1 Harare City, Ngezi Platinum Stars 4-0 Bulawayo City, ZPC Kariba 1-0 Yadah FC
Sunday: Highlanders 0-0 Caps United, Shabanie Mine 0-1 Chapungu, Dynamos 0-2 FC Platinum, Triangle United 0-1 Black Rhinos, Mutare City Rovers 1-1 Herentals
Match Day 13 Fixtures
Wednesday: Caps United v ZPC Kariba (National Sports Stadium), Chapungu v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Ascot), Harare City v Shabanie Mine (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v Chicken Inn (Luveve)
Thursday: Herentals v Triangle United (National Sports Stadium, 1 PM), Yadah v Mutare City (National Sports Stadium), Bulawayo City v Highlanders (Barbourfields), Black Rhinos v Dynamos (Rufaro), FC Platinum v Nichrut (Mandava)