The Herald (Zimbabwe)


- Tadious Manyepo in MHONDORO-NGEZI

Ngezi Platinum Stars . . . . . . . . . (0)2 Sheasham . . . . . . . . . ...... . . . (0)1 NGEZI Platinum Stars players sung their voices out and danced their way to the changing rooms as if to signify the impending historic triumph after this Castle Lager Premier Soccer League victory at Baobab yesterday.

Their fans, who packed the 5000-seater facility were in unison and they celebrated this win like never before.

No one can begrudge them.

The league title could be on its way, for the very first time, to Mhondoro-Ngezi.

With three more round of fixtures before the curtain comes down on the intriguing season, Takesure Chiragwi and his boys need just three points to be crowned.

They can even win it without picking any points in their last three matches provided second-placed Manica Diamonds and the pair of Dynamos and FC Platinum fail to pick all the nine points in their own fixtures.

And the air of optimism is sweeping across Ngezi, who can wrap the championsh­ip as soon as this Saturday when they play Simba Bhora at Baobab.

Yet they were nervy in yesterday’s game. But that again is understand­able given how important was the game in terms of defining their history.

Premiershi­p top-scorer Takunda Benhura and substitute Claude Mapoka scored for the hosts while Liberty Masveure got the consolatio­n for the guests.

It was a match that could have gone either way but with the backing of a capacity crowd and fully aware of its significan­ce, the home team found a way to outwit their opponents.

And Chiragwi, who for the better part of the term has ducked the championsh­ip question was naturally over the moon.

“We are almost there now but obviously not there as yet. I want to salute the boys for this win, it’s a big win for our ambitions,” said Chiragwi.

“I told the boys to remain focused going into the match and they did just that. It was a really tough match because Sheasham played very well.

“They wanted the win and so did we. I am very happy with this win.

“The boys delivered exactly what we wanted. We should keep on fighting and see what happens in the last three games”.

Ngezi Platinum Stars were the first off the blocks and Leslie Kashitigu almost opened the scoring with a powerful drive that however went over from the edge of the box.

Sheasham responded quickly with Physwell Madhazi almost catching Ngezi Platinum Stars goalkeeper Nelson Chadya at his near post but the ball went wide.

Play was mostly concentrat­ed in midfield with both teams failing to create clear chances in a tense first half that was handsomely handled by referee Cecil Gwezere who had an afternoon to remember with the whistle.

With the clock ticking towards the hour mark, the Ngezi Platinum Stars fans were becoming impatient and even whistled for the substituti­on of Nigel Makumbe but no sooner had they complained that Benhura, now on 11 goals opened the scoring.

The 20-year-old took advantage of a melee in the box as Sheasham goalkeeper Elton Sibanda fumbled a corner kick, and he nodded in.

With Sheasham threatenin­g to draw level especially with Masveure on top of his game, Chiragwi introduced a tripple substituti­on bringing in Ellson Mweha, Mapoka and Marvellous Mukumba.

With their first touches Mweha lofted for Mapoka to head in the insurance goal to spark wild celebratio­ns across this mining town.

But Masveure ensured a nail-biting end to this tie after heading in Sheasham’s goal to half the deficity at the death.

Sheasham coach Lizwe Sweswe was disappoint­ed but expressed optimism his team will survive relagation.


Ngezi Platinum Stars: Nelson Chadya, Kudzai Chigwida, Polite Moyo, Takunda Benhura, Gareth Madhake, Leslie Kashitigu, Farai Madhanaga, Nigel Makumbe(Ellson Mweha 76min), Tapiwa Mandinyeny­a (Marvellous

Mukumba 65min), Tinotenda Mura-siranwa(Claud Mapoka 76min), Qadr Amini(Bruno Mtigo 76min) Sheasham: Elton Sibanda, Dalubuhle Jubane, Collin Kwaramba, William Stima, David Mang-esi, Roy Useni, Physiwell Madhazi, Liberty Masveure, Hillary Bakacheza, Polyester Shoko, Leonard Jani


Yesterday: Black Rhinos 1-0 Yadah Chicken Inn 1-1 Greenfuel

FC Platinum 0-0 Dynamos Herentals 2-1 Cranborne Bullets Manica Diamonds 1-0 Simba Bhora Ngezi Platinum 2-1 Sheasham

ZPC Kariba 1-0 Hwange

Today: CAPS United v Bulawayo Chiefs (NSS) Triangle v Highlander­s (Gibbo)

Latest Standings


31 18 6 7

31 15 8 8

31 13 12 6

31 14 9 8

30 12 13 5

31 13 9 9

31 10 15 6

31 11 7 13

31 9 12 10

31 10 9 12

30 9 11 10

30 9 9 12

31 10 6 15

31 7 13 11

31 10 4 17

31 7 11 13

30 5 16 9

31 6 8 17



F 40 38 33 33 21 35 32 23 27 23 28 31 21 18 30 23 21 15

A 20 21 13 25 18 28 23 26 23 30 26 33 45 29 42 32 31 27

PTS 60 53 51 51 49 48 45 40 39 39 38 36 36 34 34 32 31 26

ZIMBABWE internatio­nal striker Knox Mutizwa was the fall guy as Lamontvill­e Golden Arrows suffered a 0-1 defeat to Royal AM in a South African DStv Premiershi­p match at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday.

An off-tune Royal AM outfit quickly found their key and caught the visitors still in their previous Derby blues as they took the lead inside the opening two minutes through Menzi Masuku.

The 30-year-old midfielder started his first game since early August and easily found his feet. The hosts combined a few neat passes before playing Masuka through on goal.

He showed the poise and the quality of a veteran as he fired past Ismail Watenga in the first post from a tight angle, providing an early confidence booster for the host.

Having gone into the break a goal down for the second game in a row, Arrows returned with fresh ideas and were nearly level as they were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute.

However, having come off the bench,

Knox Mutizwa fluffed his lines as his poorly taken penalty hit the legs of a diving Patrick Nyame.

That proved to be a costly miss for Golden Arrows.

After the match, Arrows coach Mabhuti Khenyeza was gracious in defeat adding that they would take some positives from the match.

“Sometimes you take games like this and accept that you lost and take a lot of positives from that,” Khenyeza said.

“We won games like this in the past when we got opportunit­ies to score . . . We must not fault anyone and cry about it. Well done to Royal, they managed to protect their goal because in the second half, they attacked us twice and it was the same thing when we played against AmaZulu.

“I think some of the players will have a little bit of a break and play others. We need fresh legs. We played on Saturday, Tuesday and now Sunday, but we will push because it’s not only us other teams who are in the same situation.”— Sports Reporter/Wires

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