Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
TONDERAI Ndiraya has nothing personal against his former team Dynamos but on Saturday news that the Glamour Boys had dropped points at ZPC Kariba came as music to his ears. Ndiraya, who is leading Ngezi Platinum Stars in their quest for a maiden league title, grinded a crucial 1-0 win at Bulawayo City on the same day DeMbare were held to a 1-1 stalemate by ZPC Kariba to slash the gap between the teams to just one point.
“At this stage, obviously, if I will be lying to say I do not follow what other teams involved in the championship race are doing. Of course, you are bound to concentrate on what your team has to achieve but the honest truth is we also keep a keen ear on what is happening with our rivals. I would like to believe it’s the same with the other teams. It’s a marathon. Dynamos, as the leaders, when we heard they have dropped points at ZPC Kariba, it came as good news to us and we managed to capitalise on that slip-up and it makes the competition exciting,’’ he said.
DeMbare had to come from behind to salvage a point after Denver Mukamba cancelled out Never Tigere’s opener at Nyamhunga. Ngezi Platinum were winning at Bulawayo City that afternoon courtesy of a solitary strike by Qadr Amini. The race took an exciting twist on Sunday when the third team involved in the race, FC Platinum, staged a brave fight away at Barbourfields and beat giants Highlanders 2-1 in a show of character after recovering from a goal down.
However, Dynamos still lead the pack with 57 points while the two Platinum sides are breathing down their neck with 56 points apiece. Chicken Inn, who were held to a 1-1 goal draw by Shabanie Mine last Friday, have been going through a rough patch but they remain in the mix despite trailing the leaders by five points. This year’s run-in has been characterised by inconsistency at the top and Ndiraya yesterday said his charges would be eager to make the most of every wrong move by their rivals in the last six games.
“The most important thing is consistency. The team that is going to be the most consistent in the last four games will definitely win the title. What matters most at this stage of the season, when you decide to go for the big one, is to collect maximum points in every game that you play. Usually it doesn’t matter how, you just have to win your games fair and square. Right now the competition is quite interesting and I think we have really been enjoying it this season. We started on a high and I believe we are still doing well.
“This gives us a lot of confidence and belief. That is why we have revised our targets. Remember we said at the beginning of the season that we wanted a top four finish and now, seeing that it’s almost guaranteed, we are going for the top prize. But it’s not a secret that it needs hard work and a lot of personal commitment. Of all the four teams involved in the race we have the most difficult path to negotiate. Fortunately or unfortunately we are going to face all the three teams involved in the title race with us. So I would say our destiny is in our hands. We have to work hard for it,” said Ndiraya.
Ngezi Platinum will travel to Chapungu for their next game tomorrow while FC Platinum host Shabanie Mine in the fiery Zvishavane derby. Dynamos will be at home to Tsholotsho at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
Bantu Rovers v ZPC Kariba (Luveve, 1pm) How Mine v Bulawayo City (Luveve, 3pm), FC Platinum v Shabanie Mine (Mandava), Chapungu v Ngezi Platinum (Ascot), Hwange v Yadah (Colliery), Dynamos v Tsholotsho (NSS)
Triangle United v Highlanders (Gibbo), Black Rhinos v CAPS United (NSS), Chicken Inn v Harare City (Luveve)