The Sunday Mail
SHABANIE MINE’S match day may be considered petty cash by a high-flying Ngezi Platinum Stars that travels with its own chefs but the poor miners have something money cannot buy – character.
The vast difference between the two teams’ financial positions will not be easily visible when they reacquaint in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League duel at Maglas here today.The eagle-eyed may deduce it from the kit that the respective teams will wear, the team buses and to some extent the water bottles.
However, when the kick-off whistle sounds it will be difficult to tell the have’s from the have not.
Foretelling how this duel will end is also impossible.
This war of attrition between a Shabanie side that was always expected to fight relegation from day one and a Ngezi side that was always tipped to tussle for the title can go either way.
Or neither way.
Last season the home side won this fixture 1-0, to avenge a similar scoreline defeat they had been handed at the Baobab four months earlier.
Ngezi roll into Zvishavane having won their opening five matches, without conceding a goal, but in Shabanie they face a team that has little regard for pre-match odds, a team that just doesn’t know when it’s beaten.
The manner in which the Chinda Boys rallied from three goals down to draw 3-all with Dynamos on Match Day Two epitomised the kind of resolve Takesure Chiragwi has infused into this team.
“We might be poor financially but talent wise we are far from being poor,” said Chiragwi, who at 34 is the youngest gaffer in the Premiership.
Shabanie Mine have only lost once this term, 0-3 away to Chicken Inn, and are quietly confident of being the team that will stop the Ngezi juggernaut.
They might be the home team but they have nothing to lose in this one.
If they fall, just like what Herentals, Triangle, Nichrut, Dynamos, Chicken Inn, the story will be about Ngezi winning again not Shabanie Mine losing their second game of the season.And when they play without pressure the Chinda Boys become a dangerous lot.
“I always tell them to believe in themselves and enjoy playing the game,” revealed Chiragwi.
“My challenge as coach is to make these young boys realise just how good they are. When they came here I told them the truth about our financial position but was also quick to highlight that no amount of money can buy the opportunity to play against teams such as Dynamos, Caps and Ngezi Platinum.
“And when games such as this one against Ngezi come along my boys will be motivated, they will be eager to show that they are just as good as the guys who are getting paid well and on time.”
For all their troubles Chiragwi reckons Shabanie Mine has given him the perfect platform to launch his coaching career.
“It might not make sense to most people but I am the happiest coach in the league.
“Coaching Shabanie Mine has taught me lessons that no coaching instructor can teach and I am happy that all this is happening at the start of my coaching career,” he said.