Ndiraya defends transfer policy

03 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Ndiraya defends transfer policy

The Sunday Mail

Langton Nyakwenda

AFTER weeks of enduring a barrage of criticism over the number of players he signed during the transfer season, Simba Bhora coach Tonderai Ndiraya has expressed surprise over the response by claiming most Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs have also been active on the market.

Simba Bhora announced over 10 new signings early this year.

Critics have, however, started interrogating Ndiraya’s history on the transfer market, especially during his time at Dynamos and Ngezi.

The former Zimbabwe Under-23 coach signed scores of players during his reign at Dynamos between April 2019 and December 2022.

He was sacked at the end of the 2022 season, despite leading DeMbare to a respectable third-place finish.

Ndiraya had inherited a squad that battled against relegation in 2018 and finished ninth the following season.

When he moved to newly promoted Simba Bhora at the beginning of 2023, he acquired a few players, including Partson Jaure and Keith Murera, but the Shamva-based outfit flirted with relegation for most of their maiden season, before finishing 12th and just two points above the drop zone.

That scare prompted club owner Simba Ndoro to open the chequebook to bolster the squad.

Several players, including 2022 Soccer Star of the Year Walter Musona, midfielder Junior Makunike, Mthokozisi Msebe, Malvin Mkolo and Billy Veremu, were lured by the club.

Goalkeepers Talbert Shumba and Taimon Mvula, Gift Saunyama and Perfect Chikwende also joined the side.

The club’s aggressive approach on the transfer market has led many pundits to consider Simba Bhora among the teams that will challenge for the championship.

However, Ndiraya remains modest as he believes a top-eight finish is a more reasonable target.

He noted that every club in the league had done some business on the transfer market.

Read more on: www.sundaymail.co.zw

Most clubs, including champions Ngezi Platinum Stars, Manica Diamonds, FC Platinum, Green Fuel and Dynamos, were also busy on the transfer market.

However, Simba Bhora were the first movers, as they pounced soon after the end of the 2023 season in November.

“If I still recall, many people made a lot of noise about our acquisitions; they were saying we bought so many players.

“But, after us, we saw many teams buying more players than we did,” said Ndiraya.

He has been a head coach in the PSL since 2015, when he had his first dance with Dynamos.

After losing to Harare City in the 2015 Chibuku Super Cup final, Ndiraya moved to Ngezi, with whom he won the trophy the following season.

Ndiraya then led Ngezi to third place in 2017.

Surprisingly, he was sacked in October 2018 when Ngezi still had a chance to win the league title.

They went on to finish second behind FC Platinum.

Ndiraya now has eight years’ experience as a PSL coach.

“We now have a bigger number of teams that are stable and able to attract good players.

“That’s why we have witnessed some serious jostling on the market in recent years,” he added.

“We spent much of our time in the bottom half of the log last year and that motivated the owners of the team to make some quality additions.

“We had to look at all departments and make sure we strengthen those departments to avoid a repeat of what happened last year.

“The players we got are a direct response to what happened last year. We cannot afford to fight relegation for another season.”

Ndiraya says the team wants to finish in the top half of the log.

“I know it’s not going to be easy. Many teams bought so many players because they want to do well. We anticipate a very long and tough season,” he said.

Now that he has assembled what looks like a powerful squad, Ndiraya has to find a working formula.

He has the luxury of playing a front three of Musona, Chikwende and deadly goal poacher Tymon Machope.

His midfield boasts Tichaona Chipunza, Vasilli Kawe, Makunike, Saunyama and Msebe.

“As Simba Bhora, we are still trying to be a team. This is only our second season in the top-flight, unlike those traditional teams who have been in this competition for many years,” Ndiraya said.

“That’s the difference, so we are hoping that the players we brought in this year and those we had last year can quickly come together and become a team for us to compete and finish in the top half of the log.”

Simba Bhora has kept faith in some of its seasoned players, including goalkeeper Simba Chinani, Blessing Moyo, Webster Tafa, Ishmael Nyanhi, Ronald Kangadzi, Albert Manenji, Jaure, Chipunza and Machope.

“We are doing fine. We are also deriving confidence from the fact that we are going to be playing at our home ground in Shamva.

“Last year, we played 34 matches away from home, yet we were a team that had only been promoted.

“I think it was a great achievement, if you ask me. We couldn’t ask for more from the players.”

Share This: