AFTER securing passage to the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup, Ngezi Platinum Stars coach, Rodwell Dhlakama has called on his charges to keep their feet on the ground and remain focused.
The respected tactician, who is a proud native of Chipinge, said they are not getting ahead of themselves, but taking it one game at a time.
Despite dropping points for the first time in the competition during Wednesday’s two-all stalemate against outgoing champions, Triangle, the ambitious Mhondoro-based side still powered into the last eight owing to an imperious showing that saw them coasting to victories in all their opening three matches before the games were called off following a surge in Covid-19 cases in June.
Fellow miners and league title holders, FC Platinum also pulled through from Group Four.
Dhlakama, one of the game’s sharpest minds to emerge from Manicaland Province, expressed delight with how his team applied themselves and declared that there is still room for improvement.
“First, it feels great to be back in competitive action again after the start-stop nature that has characterised this campaign. After regrouping, we believe we are ready and up for it.
“I am happy with what we showed at resumption; we can only get better as we progress, and our desire is to go all the way. It is always nice to advance to the next round of any tournament.
“However, we are taking it one game at a time without getting ahead of ourselves as this is only the quarter-finals. This calls for focus and hard work because if we want to get far, then there is still a lot to be done,” said the former Zupco Mutare and CPMZ player.
He, however, still has reservations about the players’ fitness levels.
“The players’ fitness is a major concern for me, and we need to quickly address that. This is an important aspect of the game we cannot afford to overlook as it largely contributes to their performances, and how well the team fares as a whole,” said the Madamburo mentor.
During the period football was in a lockdown-induced lull, the multi-title winning trainer voiced his concerns over how the lengthy inactivity was likely to affect players upon taking to the park again.
As shrewd as ever, the decorated gaffer said they will use the reminder of the Chibuku Super Cup’s group stages to fine-tune and get into perfect shape in readiness for the next stages.
Said the former Young Warriors coach: “Progressing with two games to spare is a bonus for us, although we worked hard for it before the enforced break. We will now use the two games to build momentum, and rhythm as well as polish up on areas that need improving by making the most of the situation.”
Dhlakama is hoping to plot another podium finish for Ngezi Platinum Stars in the prestigious knockout tournament after their triumph in 2016 that was inspired by their Sakubva-bred ex-skipper, Liberty Chakoroma.
The Mhondoro miners side presently have the Mutare-born trio of hitman, Nyasha Chintuli as well as fellow forwards, Anelka Chiwandire and Tendai Matindife on their books.