DeMbare salute at Ngezi Platinum Stars

Eddie Chikamhi, Senior Sports Reporter

DYNAMOS assistant coach Lloyd “Mablanyo” Chigowe admits the Glamour Boys shot themselves in the foot on many occasions in their quest to end a nine-year drought in the Castle Lager Premiership title competition.

The best the Glamour Boys can do this year is to finish second after the title was clinched by Mhondoro side Ngezi Platinum Stars over the weekend.

The platinum miners, who are basking in their maiden title success since their promotion in 2016, edged new boys Simba Bhora 2-1 on Saturday to take their points tally to an unassailable 63, with two rounds of play remaining.

“It’s done and dusted. Congratulations to them,” said Chigowe.

Not once, but on many instances Dynamos, just like the rest of the chasing pack failed to take advantage of the occasional slip-ups by the champions along the way.  

Ngezi Platinum stars have lost more games than either Dynamos or Highlanders, at this juncture. But the huge difference was that the platinum miners always found a way back to their feet after almost every setback.

As a result, they maintained a healthy advantage at the top in the weeks leading to the crowning moment, as the competitors took turns to stumble and trip. 

“When you get a head start and your opponents are playing catch up, it means your opponents are waiting for you to make a mistake and they capitalise. 

“But football doesn’t always work like that. So, I think the seven-point gap that they created helped them over the line. Of course, yes the log table does not lie; it means they are the better side,” said Chigowe. 

Dynamos, FC Platinum, Highlanders and Manica Diamonds all had realistic opportunities to go over the line in the second half of the marathon. 

But they somehow conspired to give Ngezi Platinum Stars weak competition. 

DeMbare did themselves a huge favour last month when they beat Ngezi Platinum Stars 2-1 at the National Sports Stadium and blew the title race wide open. 

The result meant the Glamour Boys closed the gap between them and the log leaders to eight points, and they still had a game in hand. 

But defending champions FC Platinum, who were also in the race, succumbed to a 1-2 shock defeat to Black Rhinos on the same match day while Highlanders, then in second place and trailing by seven points, were held to a 1-1 draw by GreenFuel. 

DeMbare could have reduced the gap at the top to five points if they collected maximum points in the outstanding match against Manica Diamonds. But they went to Gibbo and lost 0-1 to the Gem Boys, against a backdrop of huge expectations from their fans. Ngezi Platinum Stars maintained the seven-point advantage at the top. 

Yet again, the platinum miners dropped points in the 1-0 defeat to Hwange and as fate would have it, none of the teams in the top four also won a game, with DeMbare and FC Platinum cancelling each other out in a goalless draw at Mandava last week.

DeMbare are also likely to look back with huge regrets at some of the unpalatable results they experienced during the season, like the back-to-back defeats to Bulawayo Chiefs, the back-to-back goalless draws with new boys Simba Bhora and relegation candidates Triangle, which contributed to derailing their campaign. 

But Chigowe believes Ngezi Platinum Stars, unlike Dynamos, benefitted more from continuity within the technical team and the team composition. 

“I would say yes (we misfired) and I would also say no,” said Chigowe. 

“But if you look at (Ngezi Platinum Stars coach) Takesure Chiragwi, for starters; he has been with Ngezi Platinum Stars for three years. 

“The whole of us as a (Dynamos) technical team, including myself I joined midway, this team was assembled at the start of the season. 

“It means we still have to also get to grasp with the quality of some of our players. So over the course of the season you do make mistakes, like we did. Yes, we did choke but I hope going forward we can work on that and be consistent,” said Chigowe.

With the PSL title gone, DeMbare, who celebrate their 60th anniversary this year, are now set to channel all their energies to the upcoming Chibuku Super Cup final against Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab on December 3.

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