Ndiraya’s job safe, but ...

SIMBA Bhora coach Tonderai Ndiraya

SIMBA Bhora executives have backed underfire coach Tonderai Ndiraya to turn things around after a rather slow start to their maiden season in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.

This comes as fans have implored the club management to sack the former Dynamos gaffer.

But it would appear his position is safe, at least for now.

Having made a huge investment, the club expected that they would be in a better position than where they are at the moment.

The former Ngezi Platinum Stars mentor is under immense pressure following a run of poor results.

They have failed to win in their last three matches and the surprise 1-0 defeat to Cranborne Bullets in their last match has left the ambitious side just three points above basement side Black Rhinos.

Ndiraya's men sit on 13th position on the 18-team standings with eight points from a possible 24.

They are just seven points from the team that sits on top of the log table, which makes this year’s title race one of the most intriguing yet.

After the Cranborne Bullets defeat, a loss that appeared to leave Ndiraya in a precarious position, a group of disgruntled fans held a mini-protest at the stadium calling for the club's top hierarchy to immediately sack the coach.

But members of the executive who spoke on and off the record, told NewsDay Sport yesterday that while they are unhappy with the team's start to their maiden PSL campaign, they are not pressing any panic buttons yet.

A source said Ndiraya's job is safe for now with the club's president Simba ‘Buju’ Ndoro having faith that the situation can be turned around.

“We are a new baby in the league and in as much as we are ambitious, but we are taking this as a learning process,” the source said.

“It's still too early to press panic buttons. We still have faith in our technical bench to turn things around. They still enjoy our full support.”

The source added that this could change though, should the turnaround not happen soon.

Club spokesperson Charles Nyatsine said they were reviewing the poor performance of the team and taking steps to bring about immediate improvement.

“As the executive we are obviously not happy,” Nyatsine who is also the club's vice-chairman told NewsDay Sport.

“This is not what we expected after the preparations and efforts made by club president of securing services of some quality players who have experience in the PSL.”

Simba Bhora were one of the busiest teams during the player transfer window, during which, apart from hiring Ndiraya, they secured the services of experienced players such as Partson Jaure, Talent Chawapiwa, Keith Murera, Blessing Moyo, Tichaona Chipunza and Valentine Musarurwa.

Nyatsine said the supporters’ reaction to the team's defeat to Cranborne Bullets — which was the soldiers’ first league victory this season — was understandable.

“It's a datum that when supporters experience such dismal performance from the team they protest. However, as the executive we haven't sat down to deliberate on it.”

He said they expect to see a major improvement in the team's results once they start to play their home games in Shamva.

Simba Bhora currently play their home games at the National Sports Stadium in Harare as their Wadzanai Stadium in Shamva is undergoing major renovations, and is yet to be approved.

“It's has been a rough path so far for us but we are hoping that the frantic efforts being put in place by the club president (Ndoro) to have the Wadzanai Stadium completed and ready for the second half of the season will obviously up the gear especially when the team will finally be playing  with the backing of our beloved home supporters in Shamva," he said.

The club is targeting a top-eight finish in the league.

“If you ask any team that is in the league the first wish would be to grab the championship. However, as debutants in the PSL we were very cautious of that objective despite having high-profiled players, not to mention the high-profiled coach. As such top eight is the least we targeted.”

Simba Bhora travel to Bulawayo to face Highlanders this weekend before they host Bulawayo Chiefs next week, fixtures that could determine Ndiraya's fate.

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