NGEZI Platinum Stars coach Erol Akbay has shown faith in utility star Liberty Chakoroma by retaining him as the team captain ahead of the 2019 Castle Lager Premiership season which commences at the end of this month.
Chakoroma wore the armband last season leading the Mhondoro-based side to a second-place finish on the log standings behind winners FC Platinum. The Warriors international was heavily linked with a move away from the ambitious side at the beginning of the year before committing himself by extending his contract by another year at Baobab Stadium.
Akbay appears to have already been charmed by Chakoroma’s leadership qualities as he allowed him to remain with the armband.
Chakoroma will be deputised by defender Frank Makarati while midfielder Xolisani Moyo will be the third captain. Ngezi Platinum are currently in South Africa, intensifying their pre-season preparations ahead of the new season.
Akbay was given a reality check on the task that lies ahead of him after watching his side slumber to a 4-1 defeat in their first pre-season practice match against Absa Premiership side Bidvest Wits.
Having failed to sustain the title challenge last season, Ngezi made it clear to Akbay, who is being assisted by Cosmas Zulu and Tendai Chikuni, to deliver the big one in only their fourth year in the top flight league.
Akbay is, however, unfazed by the target.
“I have to be champion (it’s) very simple in my contract there is no secret. The club is very ambitious and it’s the same with me. They said to me they want to be champions and I said okay we will go for the championship,” Akbay told the Daily News before their trip to South Africa.
“If you start with this kind of a team and you know they want something from you, if you don’t like it don’t go there and that’s why I accepted when they say we want to be champions and I said I will try to do my best. “We have good players and what we need to do is to make sure they play good football. Of course some players left and others remained but the new players and those remained have to make sure that they play football the way I want.”
Akbay is on the re-building after the Mhondoro-based side lost some of their senior players that have been the backbone of the team since their promotion to the top flight in 2016. The trio of goalkeeper Bernard Donovan, midfielder Tichaona Chipunza and striker Clive Augusto are now at Chicken Inn.
Midfielder Walter Mukanga has also left although his destination remains a mystery having been linked with Harare City and lately Democratic Republic of Congo side Lupopo FC.