By Eddie Chikamhi
Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Erol Akbay has bemoaned the axing of his two senior players Simba Nhivi and captain Liberty Chakoroma.
The pair was shown the exit this week following an ugly confrontation between the club’s leadership and players. They were singled out as the bad apples after players embarked on an industrial action demanding an upward review of their salaries and bonuses.
Akbay said it has been a hectic week for his team and thinks it will be difficult for them to do well against ZPC Kariba at Nyamhunga without team leader Chakoroma and Nhivi, who scored the winner against TelOne last week, .
“It was also a good week because the boys got what they wanted and everybody is now quiet,’’ said Akbay.
“All we have to do now is to focus at the future. My hope now is that everybody has to play the same way we did last week and we move forward. Definitely (the sacking of the players affects my strategy) because one of the players is a striker, one of the best strikers that we had.
“Of course, that means we lost a very big quality of our team and we hope those we have will do even better than what he has been doing. If you get another player now it will take time before he understands what you want. It’s very bad we are missing some of these players.
“Chakoroma was one of the leaders and also a very easy guy to work with. He was very good and very influential in our team and as a leader we are losing a very big guy.’’
Ngezi have been battling for consistency after making a slow start this season.
They have now 10 points from six starts and Akbay is happy with the way his players have been improving.
“I think the players are adopting well (to my philosophy). The high-tempo game that we are trying, we have to try to avoid making too many mistakes, especially in defence.
“We are there at about 67 percent but we still have to get that 40 percent. Generally, I am happy with the training we have had in the last four months but you cannot fix all of these things in a few months. That’s why I said it needs time.”
One of their key strikers Donald Teguru will miss the trip to Kariba because of injury.
Today: Harare City v Bulawayo Chiefs (Rufaro); Mushowani v Black Rhinos (NSS); Chicken Inn v Highlanders (BF); ZPC Kariba v Ngezi Platinum (Nyamhunga)
Tomorrow: Triangle v CAPS Utd (Gibbo); Yadah v Dynamos (Rufaro); Herentals v Manica Diamonds (NSS); TelOne v FC Platinum (Luveve); Hwange v Chapungu (Colliery). The Herald