CHIBUKU Super Cup champions Ngezi Platinum Stars, who had a scintillating debut season in the local top-flight league, have set themselves an audacious target to win the league title next season.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Buoyed by their cup win that will see them carrying the Zimbabwean flag in the CAF Confederations Cup next year and a seventh place league finish, the Mhondoro-based side is ready to break the bank to achieve the new target.
Club president Stanley Segula made public the team’s targets at their end-of-year awards ceremony on Friday night.
“Next year, we have set ourselves a target of a top four finish, but last season we said we wanted to just avoid relegation and we finished at number seven. I’m pretty confident that by setting ourselves a top-four target, we are aiming for the summit and I am sure that this team will deliver that,” Segula said.
Ngezi Platinum Stars bought 17 new players when they were promoted into the Premier Soccer League and Segula revealed that they had given Tonderai Ndiraya a “good” war chest to bolster the team in preparation for next season’s targets.
“The board has already given the technical team a good budget to go out on the market and get good material that will help us get to the target which we have set for the team. For the Confederations Cup, we are not going to put pressure on the team by setting a target, we just want the team to enjoy their football on the African safari,” he said.
After a slow start to the season, Ngezi Platinum Stars transformed into a completely new outfit after the arrival of Ndiraya towards the end of the first half of the season.
They went on an eight-match unbeaten run between June and August, which saw them rise from the relegation zone to the top half on the log, eventually finishing on an impressive seventh.
Captain Liberty Chakoroma was voted among the 11 soccer stars of the year following an impressive season.
Chakoroma capped a season on an individual scale, winning two awards at the club’s end-of-year awards ceremony.
Apart from scooping the big one, the Ngezi Platinum Stars Player of the Year accolade, which carried a $600 prize – the former Buffaloes player was also crowned the players’ player of the year, walking away with an additional $400.
After a great season, Chakoroma is expecting a phone call from Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa to be part of the Gabon Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) squad.
“I am happy to have won these awards. I think this year I should bounce back into the national team. I am 100% expecting a call from the national team coach for Afcon preparations,” he said.
Some of the winners on the night included 2015 Northern Region Division One player of the year, Donald Teguru, who was voted the most improved player after an impressive debut season.
Young Warriors goalie Nelson Chadya was the rookie of the year, while Tatenda Mchisa was voted the young player of the year and Edgar Tapera emerged the most disciplined player. Innocent Sokosi was honoured as the most loyal player and striker James Ngulube walked away with the Golden Boot award. All the other awards carried a $300 purse.