Ngezi look­ing for­ward to Con­fed Cup

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ed­die Chikamhi

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.

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