By Ricky Zililo
FC Platinum-bound Hendrik Pieter de Jongh is reportedly keen on raiding Bosso for four players.
The nomadic De Jongh, whose decision to quit Highlanders didn’t shock the Bulawayo soccer giants as the Dutch expatriate “tossed” them around when engaged in contract negotiations, has allegedly targeted defence cog Peter Muduhwa, anchorman Nqobizitha Masuku, central midfielder Denzel Khumalo and striker Prince Dube, who reportedly left the country yesterday for trials in China.
Sources added that De Jongh has also been facilitating for McClive Phiri’s move to Chicken Inn should a deal with South Africa’s Bidvest Wits collapse.
Muduhwa, Masuku and Dube have running contracts with Highlanders, while Phiri and Khumalo are among players whose deals expire next Wednesday.
“That De Jongh left Highlanders when they had held numerous meetings didn’t shock the club. Highlanders offered an improved contract which the coach agreed to before changing goal posts.
“He wanted in the region of US$10 000, having previously been paid US$4 000. The club benefactors were of the view that De Jongh deserved the raise he wanted and were committed to funding his stay,” said the source.
“While negotiating with FC Platinum, De Jongh offered to bring along Masuku, Muduhwa, Khumalo and Dube. The contracted players were looking for loopholes in their contracts, something like demanding termination of contract because Highlanders has failed to honour part of the contract. Khumalo was also offered to Chicken Inn.”
Besides the quartet of Muduhwa, Masuku, Dube and Khumalo, Highlanders were almost left with egg on their face when De Jongh told them to offload some players whom he said were not in his 2020 plans. Among players that were set to be released by De Jongh is defender Bukhosi Ncube, a long time target of Chicken Inn.
De Jongh, who according to sources started negotiations in November and “temporarily disappeared” from the Highlanders’ dressing room after the 0-0 draw against FC Platinum in Mandava on November 16 before “resurfacing” after a “long search” when he emerged from FC Platinum’s VVIP lounge, could not be reached for comment.
The gaffer had also reportedly attracted interest from Tanzania giants Young Africans during his stint with Bosso.
“Besides FC Platinum, De Jongh also got an offer from Young Africans, which he strongly considered as the club is just an hour’s flight to Kenya where his family is based,” said the source.
Contacted for comment, Highlanders spokesperson Ronald Moyo said:
“What I can only confirm is that coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh officially notified the club that he will be pursuing new challenges and we wish him well, having served the club well.
“On players you are asking about, we are in negotiations with those whose contracts expired. Offers were made well before the season ended and we are still pursuing them even during the holidays.
“I can’t confirm nor deny that there might be interest for some of our players, but if there’s any official communication, we will notify our members accordingly.”
Highlanders fans will remember De Jongh for leading their club to the Chibuku Super Cup glory and restoring Bosso’s pride with some some scintillating performances that again restored Barbourfields Stadium as a fortress. The Chronicle