HomeSportHats off to Ngezi Platinum

Hats off to Ngezi Platinum

On October 23 at Barbourfields Stadium, Castle Lager Premier Soccer League debutants Ngezi Platinum Stars shocked the football world with a 1-0 victory over Highlanders in the semi-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup.

insidesport with MICHAEL KARIATI

Nobody, including their own diehard followers, had given Ngezi Platinum Stars any chance against a steamrolling Bosso that had gone for nine matches unbeaten and playing in front of their own spectators.

However, a 62nd minute penalty conversion by Liberty Chakoroma proved all the critics wrong and gave the Selous-based premiership newcomers a victory they will cherish for a long time.

The win will forever be etched in the minds of coach Tonderai Ndiraya and his players.

Even if they do not win the tournament, that victory alone, will be enough for them to reflect on their participation and say “at least we did something in our debut season”.

The outcome of the match is a lesson that not only Bosso, but all teams, have to learn – that the ball is round and can roll anywhere, including in their own net.

It is also a lesson that the so-called big teams have to understand – that there are no big or small teams in football anymore.

That result should also help to spur the Warriors into realising that they too can pull a shocker over the so-called big guns Africa has to offer at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

The Warriors have been drawn in the same group with Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal, with the top two teams qualifying for the quarter-finals.

The 1-0 win also strengthened claims by Ngezi Platinum Stars that they were robbed after Highlanders were awarded a late penalty in Bosso’s 2-1 win in a league match at the same venue earlier in the season.

That, however, is now water under the bridge.

By now Highlanders have recovered from that Chibuku Super Cup defeat and should be ready to continue their quest for their other dream – the league title.

Mighty Warriors in crisis

When a committee which included the Sport and Recreation minister Makhosini Hlongwane was set up to look into the affairs of the Mighty Warriors, there was hope that the team’s long-suffering would finally be over.

With financial and industrial gurus having been included in the committee, it was expected that in a short space of time, funds would be made available for the women’s national soccer team.

But alas, a month or so later, there is still nothing on the plate for the Mighty Warriors.

With less than a month before the team takes to the field in the Africa Women’s Championships, the Mighty Warriors are still in depths of despair and have not started camping for the continental football festival.

It is a sad state of affair. Just like what they did in their 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games journey, the women’s soccer team is in danger of going to the Nations Cup finals having played a single international friendly match.

It is not a secret that Zifa does not have money and the association’s president Phillip Chiyangwa has come out in the open seeking assistance for the Mighty Warriors, but no-one has come through.

Whatever happens to the Mighty Warriors in Cameroon, it would be unfair to point fingers at the players.

The team qualified way back in April and by now everything should have been in place for them.

Unfortunately, they have not received the support required from all Zimbabweans at large.

It is high time Zimbabweans learnt how to treat their national teams, the way other nations do.

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