By Nigel Matongorere
Ngezi Platinum Stars……….0
HARARE – Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya admitted there is a crisis on his hands after his side lost a fourth consecutive match when they went down to Herentals yesterday.
The former Castle Lager Premiership log leaders, who had gone for 14 matches without defeat, lost to Bulawayo Chiefs, FC Platinum and Black Rhinos when the season took a two-week break last month.
Ndiraya had hoped to plug the holes that were making his side leak goals in those defeats but it failed to work.
Yesterday, Herentals’ only goal of the game came in the 25th minute when 17-year-old Tinotenda Benza scored with a wonderful strike that hit the roof of the net.
With log leaders FC Platinum losing 2-1 at home to ZPC Kariba, Ndiraya’s team missed a golden chance to close the gap at the top to three points.
Madamburo remain in second place with 38 points from 18 matches while FC Platinum are on 44.
“It’s sort of a crisis now if I can put it that way, we need to stop the rot. The good thing is that, we had covered much ground but we have not been moving, we have now lost 12 points,” Ndiraya said after the game.
“It’s a massive number of points. As a coach you get worried and as an institution, you also get worried but it’s something which we hope to work on, we will keep our hopes.
“Yeah, it’s now a crisis but a crisis which we can look at — I’m still hopeful we can bounce back from it.”After those three earlier defeats, Ndiraya had switched his formation for yesterday’s game opting to go for a three-man defence of captain Liberty Chakoroma, Frank Makarati and Godknows Murwira.
However, it failed to work because every time Herentals attacked with width and on the counter, the Madamburo defence could not cope.
Benza’s goal came from a similar situation when Archmore Majarira won possession inside his own half before releasing the forward with a long ball behind the Ngezi defence.
Murwira was beaten for pace by the teenager while Donovan Bernard hesitated to come off his line to play sweeper-keeper.
Benza had one thing on his mind as he raced into the box to meet Majarira’s pass. The former Young Warriors captain unleashed a rising shot that sailed into the net at Bernard’s near post.
It was shambolic defending from the visitors as they failed to operate as a unit to stop Herentals from taking the lead.
The three-man Madamburo defence had been caught square by Majarira’s long ball while Bernard should have done better to try and put off Benza by coming off his line.
The goal characterised Ngezi Platinum’s entire afternoon as they struggled to cope with the pace of the School Boys’ counter attacks.
Upfront, Madamburo offered very little as they failed to take a meaningful shot on target to trouble the Herentals goalkeeper Frank Kuchineyi.
Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva applauded his charges for a disciplined performance that saw them move into 10th place on the log with 22 points.
“It was a much disciplined match displayed by the boys,” he said.“Being the first game of the second half of the season; tactically, we were organised and the way we defended against Ngezi was good.
“We were also fast by the way we were attacking on the break and that is how we got the goal. The players stuck to our game plan.” Daily News.