Winless Manica Diamonds face Chicken Inn

05 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
Winless Manica Diamonds face Chicken Inn Manica Diamonds coach Jairos Tapera

The ManicaPost

 

Ray Bande
Senior Reporter

 

THE great expectations for Manica Diamonds predicated on their impressive record last season seem to be weighing heavily on them as they enter Match Day Five as one of the four teams yet to taste victory since the beginning of the 2024 Castle Lager Premiership season last month.

On Match Day Five, Manica Diamonds face tricky customers, Chicken Inn, at Sakubva Stadium on Sunday.

So high were the expectations for a 2024 season to remember from the Gem Boys’ legions of local fans, whose hope was buoyed by the team’s impressive run in which they ended last season perched on the prestigious second position.

The Gem Boys surprised everyone, including themselves, when they put a spirited campaign and became a part of the PSL championship cast last season.

Their only undoing then was the needless dropping of points against perceived weaker opponents, a feat that relegated them to the runners-up position on the table.

While many would have expected the Jairosi Tapera-coached side to learn one or two lessons about the negative impact of dropping points, their campaign this year started worse off and has been energy-sapping to say the least.

Naturally, a lot was expected from the team this season, not the sort of campaign so far witnessed at Sakubva Stadium, which should be their slaughter house.

The team’s return to Sakubva Stadium, after a year playing in the wilderness, should have subtracted the pressure and fatigue that comes with travelling long distances and playing before hard-to-please foreign supporters.

However, at home, Manica Diamonds have been a pale shadow of the team that once went on a five-match unbeaten run last season while playing away from home turf.

 

And their coach, Jairos Tapera admitted that the team’s impotence so far in the season, is frustrating the boys more than anyone else.

“I am well aware with regards to our fans’ frustration. We are even more frustrated. Remember, this is our work and life. We will do our best to improve and get good results,” said Tapera.

After opening the season with a 2-3 defeat against Simba Bhora at Sakubva Stadium, Manica Diamonds suffered a convincing 1-3 defeat against TelOne FC, before settling for a dull goalless draw against debutants, Chegutu Pirates in the eastern border city.

Monday’s away assignment against defending champions, Ngezi Platinum, at Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro was always going to be a difficult one.

 

The Gem Boys succumbed to a frustrating defeat by a solitary goal.

“Our last match against Ngezi Platinum was a tale of two halves. Ngezi Platinum wanted it more, hence they got their only goal through a lapse of concentration in our set piece defending. They scored through a free-kick.

“It happened in the last games. In the second half we made some changes, and took the game to them. We created a number of scoring chances, which with a bit of luck we could have scored and equalised,” said Tapera.

The former Young Warriors coach believes his squad will soon turn the corner and produce the desired results, both at home and away.

“It is again back to the drawing board, and I am very sure we will turn the corner very soon,” he said.

As they prepare to face Chicken Inn on Sunday — it now begs the question how soon is ‘very soon’?

Tapera reckoned that though Chicken Inn are one of the most consistent teams in league, they will pour blood, sweat and tears to glean a positive result on home turf.

“We are playing against Chicken Inn in our next encounter, and we know they are one of the big and consistent teams in the league. Chicken Inn has one of the most experienced coaches, but we are going into this game to win with an impressive margin before our home fans,” he said.

Elsewhere in the domestic top-flight league, fellow Manicaland outfit, GreenFuel, who are still smarting from a 0-1 defeat against league debutants, Chegutu Pirates, will host champions, Ngezi Platinum at their GreenFuel Arena in Chisumbanje, on Sunday.

 

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