Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
Bulawayo City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Ngezi Platinum Stars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
BULAWAYO CITY captain Zibusiso “Mzimara” Sibanda was last night admitted at Mpilo Hospital after suffering a serious injury during his side’s Castle Lager Premiership match at Barbourfields Stadium.
Sibanda and his centre back partner, Nyasha Mukumbi both went after the same high ball late in the match and the skipper came out worse in the clash of heads that occurred. He was whisked off to hospital in an ambulance after receiving medical attention from both sets of team physicians alongside Mukumbi who was able to complete the 90 minutes.
Ngezi Platinum Stars are now gunning for the top prize in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League after victory over City left them trailing log leaders Dynamos by just a point. A brilliant second half strike by Qadr Amini saw Madamburo overpower Amakhosi and continue their surge to their maiden title in only their second season in the PSL. The win saw Tonderai Ndiraya’s men move to 56 points, one behind Dynamos who are on 57 following a 1-1 draw with ZPC Kariba.
Ndiraya yesterday said now that they have reached their top four target they set at the start of the season, there is no reason why they should not take aim at the championship with six matches to play.
“Our team’s targets were top four at the start of the season but I also said we would revise our targets if the chance is presented to us and I think it would be reasonable for us to start thinking about the top prize now, we are one point within Dynamos’ reach and that gives us the chance to go for the top prize and that’s what we are now doing, going for the top prize, its only reasonable for us as an institution to do that,’’ Ndiraya said.
Bulawayo City coach, Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu conceded that it was always going to be tough to play against a team that is gunning for the title, and has better resources.
“Football can be cruel, of course it wasn’t easy coming to this game playing a team that has maybe clear indication, they really want the league, they have got maybe the best players in the country, all the resources that a club maybe can want,’’ Mpofu said.
Bulawayo City have not won in five matches but Mpofu is optimistic they will survive relegation come the end of the season. A few chances were created in the first half with Bulawayo City goalkeeper Ndodana Sibanda doing well to keep out an Amini free kick in the 15th minute.
Ndiraya introduced the lively Terrence Dzukamanja for Michael Charamba in the 63rd minute. Dzvukamanja brought in the much needed urgency in the Ngezi attack with his impact felt six minutes after he was brought in as he played part in the only goal of the match. Amini struck a beautiful goal on the run which gave a diving Sibanda no chance.
Mpofu was in the 80th minute forced to replace Zibusiso Sibanda with striker Clive Rupiya when the Amakhosi captain clashed heads with his central defence partner Nyasha Mukumbi. Last night, Sibanda went for an X-Ray at Mpilo Central Hospital to determine the extent of his injury.
Bulawayo City: Ndodana Sibanda, Andrew Tandi, Nyasha Mukumbi, Sipho Ndlovu, Ishmael Wadi, Zephania Ngodzo, Rainsome Pavari, Mkhululi Moyo (Sianchali 65 mins), Humphrey Ncube (Kutsanzira 57 mins), Zibusiso Sibanda (Rupiya 80 mins), Morris Kadzola.
Ngezi Platinum Stars: Takabva Mawaya, Davison Tavari, Keith Murera, Qadr Amini, Liberty Chakoroma, Xolisani Moyo, Godknows Murwira, Walter Mukanga, Kenneth Bulaji (Machona 90+2 mins), Michael Charamba (Dzvukamanja 63 mins), Washington Pakamisa (Nguluve 59 mins).-@Mdawini_29