The Sunday Mail
ONE of the eye-catching images you come across as you enter Ngezi Platinum Stars’ VIP lounge at Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro-Ngezi is a team photo of the miners’ triumph in the Chibuku Super Cup in 2016.
Success in the domestic Premiership’s knock-out tournament remains Ngezi’s biggest achievement in the elite league.
Despite coming close on a few occasions, the championship has eluded them thus far.
From the squad that won the Chibuku Super Cup under coach Tonderai Ndiraya, only one man still remains standing — goalkeeper Nelson Chadya, who is also the longest-serving member in the squad.
In the last two seasons, he became the first player to play in 62 consecutive games in all competitions for the club.
He has also been very fortunate in avoiding injuries and suspensions.
In those 62 matches he has been between the sticks for Ngezi, Chadya has kept 33 clean sheets and conceded 37 goals.
However, he will miss one of his team’s most important matches this season –— the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final clash against Herentals at Mandava Stadium this afternoon. He is presently in Botswana, after travelling with the senior national team for an invitational match to commemorate the neighbouring country’s 57th independence anniversary.
The 26-year-old goalkeeper told The Sunday Mail Sport that his heart is torn between club and country, as he wishes he could have been in two places at the same time.
“My heart is torn between representing my country, which is an honour for every player, and . . . representing my club and ensuring we progress to the next round of the Chibuku Super Cup,” he said.
“I think, playing all 62 games in the last two years in all competitions is a result of the hard work I put into training and my willingness to learn.”
Chadya also attributes his long stay at Ngezi to the conducive and professional environment at the club.
“My long stay at Ngezi Platinum Stars is due to the good playing environment that is at the club.
“It has been a very interesting journey . . . and I believe that staying at the same place has helped me grow,” he added.
During the past seven years at Ngezi, Chadya has been under the guidance of different goalkeeper trainers, who have all stuck with him as the club’s first choice.
“I train as if I am playing, so nothing will change during games.
This is the result of dedication, commitment, focus, tenacity and resilience.
“And I think that is what coaches have realised over the years.”
Ngezi have opened a four-point lead at the top of the log standings.
If they win in today’s Chibuku Super Cup clash, they will remain on course for a maiden league and cup double.
“Every player wants his name to be mentioned when people talk about PSL championship titles . . . Just like the desire we have for the league title, we have the same for the Chibuku Super Cup,” he added.
However, in-form Herentals are seeking another crack at the Chibuku Cup after narrowly losing to Bulawayo Chiefs in last year’s final.
Mandava Stadium has also proved a happy hunting ground for Kumbirai Mutiwekuziwa and his Students.