Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
NGEZI Platinum coach Tonderai Ndiraya has been named Coach of the Month for October for the third time this season ahead of his club’s make-or-break showdown against Chicken Inn at Baobab this afternoon. Ndiraya was previously selected as the top coach for May and July. He received a major boost yesterday when his skipper Patson Jaure made full recovery after missing the last three league encounters with a finger injury.
The former Dynamos defender is in the starting line-up this afternoon. Also back in the fold is the team’s leading goalscorer with nine goals, Terrence Dzukamanja, who has also recovered after missing the Bantu Rovers match with a shoulder injury. The team will, however, miss the influential Tichaona Mabvura due to family bereavement.
The former Dynamos midfielder lost his father who was buried yesterday. Mabvura has been one of the leading lights in Ngezi’s campaign this year, scoring eight goals and providing 15 assists for his teammates. Ndiraya’s message to his troops yesterday was a simple one.
“The message has been blunt, we want to win the league and we have to win all our matches,’’ he said.
“That’s what is required. We have the title in our hands. Win the three games and we go for it. We have to pull the bull by its horns.’’ However, the coach concedes the next two matches, including the one against Chicken Inn, will provide a true test of their character. Ndiraya’s men will also meet FC Platinum in a blockbuster battle at Mandava on Saturday.
“I think the break really helped us to re-energise and had a lot of time to work on our game plan for the coming two matches,’’ said Ndiraya.
“The most important match is tomorrow’s game first and I can safely say that we are prepared. I hope we will get a result that will keep us in strong contention.
“It is a special game for us, even Saturday’s game, so we are preparing with the two games in mind. Playing two big games, inside seven days, is not a mean task but we are prepared. But there are no excuses. You just have to win your games, this is what we have been planning to do and it is not going to be easy.
“Chicken Inn have the strongest squad in the league with players who know what is needed at this stage.” Ngezi Platinum are not leaving anything to chance in their bid to win the league title in their second year in the Premiership. Ndiraya and his technical team were in Bulawayo on Friday two weeks ago to watch the Gamecocks in action against Tsholotsho before driving the following day to Mandava to watch Norman Mapeza team clash against ZPC Kariba. The coaches then headed back to Bulawayo where they were joined by the players for a Sunday date against Bantu Rovers which they won 1-0.