NGEZI Platinum Stars coach Takesure Chiragwi is looking for a response to their defeat away to Chicken Inn last weekend when they host Dynamos at Baobab Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Madamburo had won four of their last five matches to top the log table, but the defeat allowed Highlanders to leapfrog them and also allowed other rivals to close the gap.
And ahead of this weekend's headline fixture, Chiragwi made it clear that he would not accept losing two matches on the bounce if they are to maintain their title charge.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference yesterday, he demanded a positive response from his players following their first defeat of the season.
"The players are geared up for the match and want to make sure to win. They can't lose games consecutively but we are happy with how they responded at training," Chiragwi said.
“Character is the most important thing when playing football and these guys have shown character. The competition for places is tough in the team so we are hoping for the best."
Reflecting on last week's match, Chiragwi said his team were unlucky to lose.
"It was a defeat, just that. The difference was on the result but in terms of performance we did very well and the guys have responded well when they came back at training."
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Looking ahead to tomorrow's clash, he reckons it would be a very difficult match although he feels his side is primed to compete against Dynamos, one of the country’s biggest team.
"It's quite interesting to play these so-called big clubs in the league but it's good because it motivates us. We also want to grow and become big like them. What is important is to do well and make sure we compete at the same level with them."
After watching his team fire blanks in Bulawayo, Chiragwi said he spent most of the time in training this week on scoring drills.
"We couldn't manage to score in the last game so we have to improve in that department. You can't win matches of you can't score so we have identified the mistakes we made and that's exactly what we have been working on. I think we are progressing well," Chiragwi said.
Following the defeat to Chicken Inn, Ngezi Platinum Stars slipped to second position on the log with 17 points, one behind Highlanders who shot to the top after drawing against Dynamos in their last match.
Another defeat could see the Mhondoro Ngezi based side move out of the top six at the end of the weekend matches.
Dynamos are going into the match on the back of three goalless draws but their coach Herbert Maruwa expects goals to start flowing soon.
DeMbare are sixth on the log standings but a win could see them move to the top of the log standings.
Meanwhile, Simba Bhora will be looking to end a five-match winless run when they face a Caps United side who are also looking to return to winning ways.
The Green Machine's last match against Sheasham was aborted after the Gweru side failed to pitch up for the fixture in Mandava in protest over the change of venue.
Simba Bhora coach Tonderai Ndiraya, while complementary of the work being done by his Caps United counterpart Lloyd Chitembwe, feels that they can get maximum points on Sunday.
"We are preparing well and we are playing a very good team which is well coached by a very good coach in Lloyd Chitembwe. They have done well this season so we expect a very tough match. If you look at the quality that Caps United have within their ranks, the players that Chitembwe has assembled really gives a picture of what sort of a match we are going to be playing,” he said
“We have been preparing with that in mind and we expect the boys to compete against the best and hope for the best. We are fancying our chances, if we play well, play according to how we have prepared and plan to approach the game, then we have a good chance of getting something out."
The Shamva-based team have failed to win any of the four matches that they played against the big clubs so far.
They lost to FC Platinum and Chicken Inn and drew against Dynamos and Highlanders.
"These are kind of matches that motivates the players that are within our ranks. We have quite a number of experienced players which we assembled and the only challenge is we are yet to become a team,” Ndiraya said.
“The players are still trying to find each other but we have managed to collect some points. We really would want to get to the mid-season with something substantial in our hands. We have a challenge when we play the so-called small teams.
“Our players tend to get into those games relaxed while the other party comes into those games well motivated because the thinking is that we will be playing at the same level because we are teams of the same quality. When we play big teams, it's a different game altogether so we expect the players to play better than they did in the last games."
Matchday 11 fixtures
Today: Black Rhinos v Fc Platinum (National Sports Stadium), Bulawayo Chiefs v Cranborne Bullets (Luveve), Manica Diamonds v Yadah (Gibbo).
Tomorrow: Caps United v Simba Bhora (National Sports Stadium), Triangle United v Sheasham (Gibbo), Highlanders v GreenFuel (Barbourfields), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Dynamos (Baobab).
Monday: Zpc Kariba v Chicken Inn (National Sports Stadium)
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