Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
HAVING finished third in their second season in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, Ngezi Platinum Stars are planning to go on a shopping spree as they look to mount a serious challenge for the title next year.
Ngezi Platinum coach, Tonderai Ndiraya expressed his displeasure at losing out on the championship to FC Platinum. Madamburo, having surpassed their top-four target gunned for the championship, only to fall short when it mattered the most.
“I was quite disappointed with the way we lost out in the race but of course I was quite satisfied by how we achieved our team targets for the season. We had earmarked top four which we achieved quite comfortably but when you have surpassed your targets during the season and then you have hopes of winning the title and pushed the way we did and then of course losing the title the way we did I was not quite impressed as a coach,’’ Ndiraya said.
He felt that they lacked the psychological vigour which would have pushed them to cross the finishing line ahead of FC Platinum and Dynamos.
“I felt we lacked that mental strength to cross the finishing line after having led the race for quite some time. We were leading the race with about four games to go and we just needed mental attitude, mental strength to cross the finishing line, we couldn’t do that, that is something that we hope to be working on come next season,’’ he said.
Ndiraya expressed his desire to reinforce his squad for next season by adding players who can add value to the team. This entails the release of those no longer required by the club.
“We intend to strengthen the team to put up another strong challenge next season and quite frankly we have quite a number of players which we are going to dispose of and of course bringing in some, who we think will add value to the team,’’ Ndiraya.
On which areas they are looking to improve, Ndiraya indicated that they want to strengthen all facets of the team.
“We are looking at all the departments, all the three departments, we want to beef up the goalkeeping department and then we are looking at the central defence which we felt really let us down by letting in a number of goals,’’ Ndiraya said.
The former Dynamos midfielder was not impressed with the way his side missed goal scoring opportunities during the course of the season. Ngezi Platinum had the second highest number of goals in the just ended season, having found the back of the net 54 times, one short of Dynamos but Ndiraya wants was still not impressed with his strike force.
“We are also looking at strengthening the strike force and bring in players who can bring in players who can get the goals for the team. I am not quite impressed by the way we missed a number of chances. I think we were also one of the teams which created most chances in the league but we could not really convert so we are also looking at bringing in some strikers who can do the job for the team,’’ he said.
Ngezi Platinum were in the running for the championship until they were beaten 2-1 by FC Platinum at Mandava, a defeat which eliminated them from the race heading into the final round of fixtures. They also failed to defend the Chibuku Super Cup which they won in emphatic fashion last season as they were booted out in the first round, beaten 1-0 by Caps United.