Pressure mounts on Madinda, FC Platinum edge Chicken Inn

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By Sports Reporter  

ANGRY Highlanders supporters blocked the club’s team bus, demanding the dismissal of coach Madinda Ndlovu after watching their side fail to register their first win of the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League in five attempts following a goalless draw against minnows Mushowani Stars at the National Sports Stadium Saturday.

The draw meant Bosso have amassed just three points in five matches after managing three draws and suffering two defeats which leaves them just one spot above the relegation zone.

Highlanders have also scored just two goals so far, with pressure now mounting on Ndlovu whose rebuilding project is seemingly stuttering after a promising start last season.

Ndlovu however appeared unfazed by the reaction of the fans, who booed him after the final whistle, blaming the team’s drab performance on the lengthy preseason strike that affected preparations.

“What has gone wrong with Highlanders to play differently from last season? Its because of that one aspect we didn’t do well. We did not do right in preparations and that is where football is played. You do right in your preparations you start off very well.

“We are trying to make sure players do not blame themselves for what happened because maybe it was their right. We can’t crucify them for that. I will take the blame because I am the coach but I was there to train the team,” Ndlovu told reporters in his post-match interview.

“And these are the players I was supposed to be training when they were not there. I am not pressured at all because we know that when these boys reach the level we want they will give us the same time of football they produced last season.”

Mushowani had the biggest chance of the contest after Kumbirai Kapikinyu missed a sitter coming face to face with Ariel Sibanda early in the match.

In a game of very few chances Bosso livewire winger Ray Lunga, also forced a brilliant save from Mushowani goalkeeper Hamilton Makainganwa five minutes before the break while Prince Dube also missed a good chance on the stroke of half time.

Both teams failed to create any meaningful chances in the second half.

Meanwhile champions FC Platinum maintained their top spot after edging out Chicken Inn 1-0 in a top of the table clash played at Luveve Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Gamecocks who were in the second position going into the match slumped to third on the log standings after slumping to their second straight defeat following another loss to Ngezi Platinum Stars.

The only goal of the tie came in the fourth minute from a header by striker Perfect Chikwende.

Although replays were inconclusive with Chicken Inn defender Xolani Ndlovu appearing to make a clearance off the goal line, first assistant referee Michael Ncube signaled for a goal and referee Thabani Bamala allowed it to stand.

FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza was elated after the win although he conceded that Chicken Inn had given them a good run for their money.

“After getting that early goal we knew it was going to be difficult. Chicken Inn were going to come at us. They had their moments especially in the first half but I think today we defended well. Second half it was the same story and we made some mistakes and gave Chicken Inn some hope of coming back into the game but we held on well,” Mapeza said.

“In these first games of the season you need to collect as many points as you can because in the last games things become difficult. So we have to pick up the points and keep the momentum going.”

His counterpart Joey Antipas felt FC Platinum’s goal should have not have been awarded, arguing that the ball did not cross the goal line.

“It was very unfortunate to lose the game. First of all I would like to question the goal. I haven’t seen the replay but according to people who saw it, it was never a goal.

“But you get those decisions against you and I thought the linesman’s flag was always up. Who knows why? But we had a good game, gave it our all. We wanted to get the result in our favour but it didn’t happen,” Antipas said.

Meanwhile in another Castle Lager Premier Soccer League matche, ZPC Kariba continued their impressive start to the season after registering a 2-1 win over Yadah FC which lifted them to second on the log standings.

Elsewhere, Black Rhinos beat Harare City 2-1 at Rufaro Stadium.

Castle Lager Premier Soccer League results and fixtures

Saturday: ZPC Kariba 2-1 Yadah FC, Chicken Inn 0-1 FC Platinum, Harare City 1-2 Black Rhinos, Mushowani Stars 0-0 Highlanders

Sunday: CAPS United v Bulawayo Chiefs (National Sports Stadium), Triangle United v Chapungu (Gibbo), Hwange v Manica Diamonds (Colliery), Herentals v Ngezi Platinum (Rufaro), TelOne v Dynamos (Barbourfields).