Ngezi Platinum clinch League championship


Simba Bhora……………………1

Ngezi Platinum Stars…………… (0) 2

THEY left it until very late and, in the process, kept their fans anxious and nervous at the same time.

However, Ngezi Platinum Stars finally made it to the Promised Land, as the Mhondoro-based side finally clinched the championship in front of their home fans, courtesy of a smash-and-grab win over stubborn Simba Bhora.

Kudzai Chigwida converted a penalty, before Takunda Benhura sealed the win with an 89th-minute strike.

Simba Bhora had taken the lead through Tinashe Balakasi in the first half.

The win took Ngezi Platinum Stars’ points tally to an unassailable 63.

And there were scenes of unbridled joy after Patrick Kalota blew the final whistle as fans streamed onto the pitch while singing and dancing.

The players tossed coach Takesure Chiragwi in the air while some soaked him with water.

The celebrations continued into the changing room, where Ngezi players also broke into song and dance.

Chiragwi was clearly the centre of attraction as everyone wanted a piece of him.

After the reality that he had just guided Ngezi Platinum Stars to their first-ever league title sank in, Chiragwi regained his composure and faced the media.

“The fans deserve to be happy; they have been there for us throughout the season, even when things were down,” said Chiragwi.

At 39, he is now probably the youngest coach to win the Premier Soccer League.

He will turn 40 on December 24.

“It’s good for young coaches to make an impact,” he said.

“Credit goes to the players; we had planned for this. We wanted the championship and today we have done it.

“We are happy, we need to enjoy the moment and also plan for the Champions League.”

Madamburo were 1-0 down for 65 minutes and their fans were getting increasingly restless until they were awarded a penalty after Simba Bhora keeper Simba Chinani fouled Benhura.

Chigwida sent the keeper the wrong way, but the referee ordered a retake because players had encroached into the box before the penalty was taken.

He then regained his composure and again sent Chinani the wrong way.

Ngezi Platinum Stars would still have won the league title because Manica Diamonds were held to a goalless draw by Cranborne Bullets at the National Sports Stadium.

However, Benhura popped up at the right time to ensure the title goes to Mhondoro.

Chiragwi paid tribute to Klifton Kadurira, who led the team from Division Two to the Premiership in 2016.

A number of coaches succeeded Kadurira but failed to win the title until yesterday, when the youthful Chiragwi earned his place in local football history.

“I want to pay tribute to Kadurira; he has done a lot for this team.

“He is my assistant now and we click a lot,” said Chiragwi.

Benhura is now the joint top goal scorer in the league with 12 goals, while Balakasi took his tally to 10.

The league title justified the massive investment put into Ngezi Platinum Stars by their parent club.


Simba Bhora: S. Chinani, V. Kawe (R. Chitiyo 85), T. Machope (A. Mandinyenya 85), A. Manenji, R. Kangadzi, I. Nyanhi, W. Tafa, T. Chipunza, P. Chigulupate, P. Jaure, T. Balakasi (V. Musarurwa 75)

Ngezi Platinum Stars: N. Chadya, K. Chigwida, P. Moyo, M. Gaki (E. Meehan 46), T. Benhura, G. Madhake, F. Madhanaga, L. Kashitigu, N. Makumbe (B. Mtigo 46), Q. Amini (T. Mandinyenya 55), T. Murasiranwa (C. Mapoka 55)

Source: Sunday Mail