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Ngezi Platinum Stars already planning for African Safari

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Ngezi Platinum Stars are reportedly lining up a shocker in which they could no sooner unveil a replacement for title-winning coach Takesure Chiragwi.

The unexpected move comes as the recently crowned champions embark on a player signing spree ahead of their debut in the African Champions League next year.

While Amanda Nyanzero, the Ngezi Platinum Stars chief executive officer, was difficult to reach for confirmation, inside sources informed New Ziana that an experienced coach had already been identified and was presently in talks with team management.

The bosses do not have much faith in Takey (Chiragwi) and it’s a wonder why, one source revealed.

Remember they were always reluctant to give him the head coach job. They ate humble pie when he won the title this year but began to doubt his qualities again when we failed to beat Dynamos at home in the Chibuku Super Cup final.

Chiragwi has been in the Ngezi Platinum dug-out for as long as their existence in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League but athough the club changed coaches like stockings it was only this year that he was offered the full reigns. Sources said the new coach will be a Zimbabwean coming in from outside the country where he is presently based.

Although not named, rumours are swirling around history-making Nyasa Big Bullets mentor Kalisto Pasuwa and Kadoma-born ex-Supersport United gaffer Kaitano Tembo.

The leadership want a coach with continental experience. Chiragwi never played for the Warriors and his former team Caps United did not play in Africa during his playing days. So he will stay on to understudy the new coach until he can be trusted to guide the team in Africa, intimated another official close to the developments.

The official said the new coach has since demanded that the Mhondoro-based sign on five seasoned players and listed battle- hardened Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa and TP Mazembe Takudzwa Chimwemwe among them.

He wants to find an already powerful squad in place," the second official added.

An unnamed player from either Malawi or Zambia and yet another who is Ghanaian, plus Caps United striker William Manondo are said to be among those wanted. The named players are in addition to Walter Musona from corporate rivals FC Platinum. It is said Chiragwi, in his own wishlist that he had submitted, had also singled out Musona as his chief target for 2024 and the player was made aware.

Apparently, according to further information received, two club officials were separately heading for DRC and Malawi as early as this week to tie up the complex deals. Though it will be their first time to participate in the premier African club competition, Madamburo have explored the African safari before.

Under then coach Tonderai Ndiraya in only their second season in the top-flight league Ngezi Platinum plunged into the Caf Confederation Cup in 2017 but bowed out in the first round. This followed their Chibuku Super Cup triumph in their maiden premiership season in 2016.

With Chiragwi playing a bridesmaid role to several coaches Ngezi have struck a high level of consistency in their eight years of premiership football (two of them inactive due to the pandemic lockdown).

After their 2016 Chibuku victory, the team finished third in the league the following year and as runners-up in 2018. Although they slightly slid to fourth place in 2019, the same year they were finalists in the Chibuku Super Cup.

The last two years have again seen Ngezi Platinum Stars reach successive finals of the Chibuku Super Cup including last weekend when they missed the chance of clinching a league and cup double by losing 0-2 to Dynamos at their Baobab Stadium home ground. Chiragwi who deputised Ndiraya, Rodwell Dhlakama, Benjani Mwaruwari at different intervals in the Ngezi change-room, and acted as coach twice for a limited number of fixtures, was handed the honours this year and steered the miners to their first-ever championship.

He staved off an alarming loss of form in the closing stages of the race where they lost two of their last three matches to Hwange and Highlanders, to still bag the coveted silverware with an eight- point margin lead over second-placed Manica Diamonds.

In total Ngezi lost eight of their 34 league matches, winning 20.

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