Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya is concerned about his team’s mental strength after seeing his side surrender a lead against FC Platinum to lose at home for the first time since 2016 on Saturday.
Ndiraya’s team had gone for 31 matches without losing at home, but that impressive run finally ended at the hands of their title rivals FC Platinum, who with that win, assume leadership of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
Ngezi, who led the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League since week two, had their impressive 14-match unbeaten start to the season come to screeching halt at the hands of Bulawayo Chiefs in Bulawayo Ngezi last week.
They looked to bounce back against platinum rivals from Zvishavane, but enjoying a slender lead going into the 88th minute, Ngezi snatched defeat from the jaws of a comfortable win, with Winston Mhango and Never Tigere rendering Donald Teguru’s first half opener of no effect late in the game.
Ndiraya could not hide his disappointment and castigated his charges for their brittleness.
“It’s quite disappointing to lose a game in such a manner. From the coach’s point of view, I thought our guys gave it away at a crucial moment.
We have not lost here in a very long time, and this loss is very disappointing, but we knew one day it was coming and it came today,” he mused after the match.
“We lost last week and normally when you lose, there is a danger of losing your next game.
I think it’s also to do with mental strength, but I thought we had managed the game well. It’s unfortunate we lost. It’s so painful.”
But Ndiraya is not pressing the panic button as yet, and neither is he throwing in the towel in the race for the league title, but he demands a reaction in the next match against armyside Black Rhinos.
“All is not lost, we are still very much in it.
Of course, we trail by three points and we just have to soldier on, we just have to respond in the next game,” he said.
“It’s quite difficult mentally but it has to be done.
We have put ourselves in this situation it’s only us who can take us out of this situation.
“We had 14 games unbeaten and naturally, when you go on a run like that, complacency and a whole of things tend to creep in and I thought that was lacking today.
We will talk to the boys but we are sure we can bounce back in our next game.”
The latest defeat was a major blow for the Ngezi Platinum family, who are gunning for nothing else but the league title this season.