By Tadious Manyepo
After bowing out of Chibuku Super Cup following a shock first-round penalty shoot-out defeat by Herentals at Baobab on Saturday, Ngezi Platinum Stars won’t have enough time to introspect as they plunge back into a league battle with another tough test against CAPS United at the same venue tomorrow.
Ngezi know fully well the disastrous consequences of a defeat as they are second on the log with 57 points, five behind leaders FC Platinum with only seven games to play.
FC Platinum just like Ngezi, are also out of the Chibuku Super Cup now with their coach Norman Mapeza indicating they have shifted their attention to the Premiership and the Champions League in December.
While Ngezi entertain Makepekepe, FC Platinum will be away to Triangle.
But, the pressure is more on Ngezi Platinum who cannot afford to drop more points in their catch up bid with their fellow platinum miners.
With their confidence levels low after that Chibuku Super Cup defeat to debutants Herentals, Ngezi will have to show some character if they are to bag the maximum points against a revenge-seeking CAPS United.
Ndiraya, whose side had a promising start to the season which could as well end terribly knows the result his club will post against CAPS United will be key in the marathon.
Although Ngezi won the reverse fixture 2-1 at the National Sports Stadium, they are yet to win a league battle against the Green Machine at Baobab.
Ndiraya said his team will have to rectify the shortcomings which were exposed by a modest Herentals side which shocked even themselves after beating the platinum miners.
“Look, we just lost concentration in our Chibuku Super Cup game against Herentals, allowed them to crawl back into the game and we crumbled in the penalty shoot-out, that’s not a good sign, we have to avoid all that against CAPS United” said Ndiraya.
“We had done what we were supposed to do, that is scoring in the early stages of the game.
“We were just supposed to manage the game and probably score another goal but suddenly we lost our rhythm.
“I was disappointed with how we allowed Herentals to come back into the match. The game was ours right from the onset as we dominated every bit but then, we somehow let them off the hook.
“But, that’s football, you can’t always win. We wanted to win the cup but we won’t be able after Saturday’s result,” said Ndiraya.
The former Dynamos coach said they have since shifted focus to their game against CAPS United as they still have some realistic chances of landing the title.
“We now have to concentrate on the league. We are still in with a chance and we have to fight until the last day.
“There are still a lot of games to play before the season ends. We remain hopeful that we will clinch the title.
“At the moment we are focusing on our match against CAPS United at Baobab.
“We know for sure that the match won’t be easy. CAPS United is a good team who can beat any opponent any day. This is a tough opponent for us.
“Although we beat them in their own backyard, we should not carry that mentality with us going into Wednesday’s (tomorrow) match.
“But we are confident of winning the match. We need to keep up with the leaders. What we need to do now is win all our remaining matches and see what happens at the end of the season.
“Our goal this season is to win the league title which eluded us last year.
“So what it means is we have to beat CAPS United, re-focus and win other remaining matches.
“We have already put behind the Chibuku Super Cup disappointment and we now have to keep our eyes on the big prize,” Ndiraya said.
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Herentals v Black Rhinos (NSS)
Shabanie v Bulawayo City (Maglas)
Ngezi Platinum v CAPS United (Baobab)
Triangle v FC Platinum (Gibbo)
Highlanders v Yadah (Barbourfields)
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