Ngezi looking forward to Confed Cup
NEWLY-CROWNED Chibuku Super Cup winners Ngezi Platinum Stars have indicated they are keen to take their fairytale to another level by representing Zimbabwe in the CAF Confederation Cup next year. The Premiership soccer rookies beat odds on favourites FC Platinum 3-1 at their compact Baobab stadium on Saturday to earn the right to play in Africa for the first time in their short history. The club’s chairman, Jeremiah Gasitene, was charmed by the historic silverware which interestingly comes in their maiden season in top-flight football. Gasitene said life briefly came to a standstill in the mining town as the club celebrated their moment in history. The dust is still to settle down but the focus now is set to turn to the CAF Confederation Cup, which the club is keen on once given the green light by the company management at Zimplats. “It’s a great honour to play in Africa especially in our case as newcomers to top-flight football. I am sure everyone will welcome this this opportunity to represent the country. But obviously it’s something that would need us to sit down and come up with a position,” said Gasitene. Team captain Liberty Chakoroma led from the front on Saturday when he scored twice in both halves while Kelvin Bulaji added the third. Gerald Takwara’s long range strike was not enough for FC Platinum. Ngezi Platinum Stars have been on the rise since the arrival of former Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya five months ago. Gasitene said they have set themselves a standard which they need to maintain. “I think the technical changes we made earlier in the season helped us a lot. If you remember, we struggled at first and we made the point that we don’t want to be relegated.
“Of course, it was a new experience in the Premiership but after we made those changes, here we are with the cup in our hands. We are extremely delighted,” said Gasitene.
The team got $75 000 for winning the tournament, besides the ticket to Africa, while FC Platinum, who were winners in 2014, settled for silver medals and a $50 000 consolation prize money.
“It was all a result of team work and hard work from everyone. The team did all they could with the support they got from all corners.
“Everyone is happy. We had a small party with the team to celebrate the achievement after the game but we will have a proper one when everything is in place.”
Skipper Chakoroma was still in high spirits yesterday. Quite interestingly, the former Young Warriors defender grabbed the Golden Boot award with a total of four goals to his name.
Ngezi Platinum booked a place in the final at the expense of giants Highlanders who they beat 1-0 at their Barbourfields backyard. Chakaroma scored the only goal from the penalty spot.
The Mhondoro side had dismissed Tsholotsho 4-1 in the quarter-finals after getting to a good start with a 3-1 win over Hwange.
“It was a difficult journey. Even the final was not easy because FC Platinum were coming at us strongly, especially in the early stages and I even thought to myself that we would not survive this game.
“But after we got the first goal we had our confidence back. The guys really put their hearts to their work,” said Chakoroma.
“There are some who had not given us a chance since it was our first year in the Premiership but we managed against all odds.
“The good thing is that, as players we had been pushing each other a lot to maintain our focus. We believed from the start of the tournament that everything was possible.
“We would love the experience to play in the Confederation Cup. It’s one opportunity you get to play against some of the successful teams on the continent. Again it’s a chance to be noticed,” said Chakoroma.