Ndiraya admits fixture favours Ngezi Platinum
By Nigel Matongorere
Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya has admitted that his side might be getting an unfair advantage in the Castle Lager Premier League title race due to the way the fixtures are arranged.
Madamburo, who are yet to taste defeat this season, currently enjoy a three-point lead over defending champions FC Platinum after 13 matches.
Ngezi Platinum are on 35 points while Pure Platinum Play are on 32 heading into this weekend’s round of matches.
However, in recent weeks, Madamburo have been playing their matches earlier while FC Platinum would need to react 24 hours later.
FCP coach Norman Mapeza recently alluded to this seemingly unfair advantage being enjoyed by Madamburo.
In midweek, Ngezi Platinum took on Chapungu at Ascot Stadium on Wednesday and emerged with a 0-1 win.
FC Platinum were only in action on Thursday when they also edged Nichrut by a 1-0 scoreline at Mandava Stadium.
This weekend, Ngezi Platinum take on Harare City this afternoon at Baobab Stadium while FCP are only in action tomorrow when they travel to Bulawayo to take on Chicken Inn at Luveve Stadium.
“It’s a bit early in the season to start talking about that. The season is still long and the PSL cannot start changing the fixtures now, it’s still too early for that,” Ndiraya said after win over Chapungu.
“Look, I concur with him (Mapeza) from a coaching point of view, it’s quite difficult to play after your rivals. You would probably want to play on the same day as your rivals.
“However, this is how the fixtures are and there is nothing we can do about it. What we can only do as coaches is to encourage the authorities to look into that and perhaps try and rectify but I think it’s still too early to talk about that.
“We are marching and we got three points and like I have always said, we apply that rule which is to move on. We have our next challenge which is Harare City, which is quite a tough match but I hope that we will be up to the task.”
Wednesday’s win at Ascot was the first for Madamburo over the Zimbabwe Air Force side which was a welcome relief for Ndiraya.
“Look, I’m quite excited by the way we got a result today, it’s been a long time before we defeated Chapungu here, it’s always a difficult venue to come to and I think in our last two visits, we were not lucky,” Ndiraya said.
“We battled here, we didn’t quite play the normal way we do, of course because of certain factors but I’m glad that at the end of the day, we got the points we needed.”
Harare City on the other hand, also come into today’s game on a decent run of form as they are also undefeated in their last seven games in which they have picked up three draws and four wins.
That run has seen Mark Harrison’s side climb to fifth place on the log with 24 points.
“We have a massive game on Saturday against Ngezi, they are unbeaten and pretenders to the crown,” Harrison said after the 2-1 win over Shabanie Mine at the weekend.
“I think that will be yardstick for us. We will know where we are. Maybe we will have got more to do after Saturday but I’m pleased with the way it has gone at the moment.”
Today: Ngezi Platinum v Hre City (Baobab)
Tomorrow: Mutare City Rovers v Triangle (Vengere), Dynamos v Herentals (Rufaro), Nichrut v Black Rhinos (Ascot), Shabanie Mine v Byo Chiefs (Maglas), Highlanders v Chapungu (Barbourfields), ZPC Kariba v Bulawayo City (Nyamhunga), Yadah v CAPS United (NSS), Chicken Inn v FC Platinum (Luveve) Daily News