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Caf bars FC Platinum coach De Jongh from sitting on the bench during Champions League matches

By Sikhumbuzo Moyo

Zimbabwe’s Total Caf Champions League representatives FC Platinum have been dealt a heavy knockout blow in their quest to do well in the Caf Champions League after their coach Pieter de Jongh was barred by Caf from sitting on the bench because he doesn’t have the requisite qualifications.

Hendrick Pieter de Jongh
Hendrick Pieter de Jongh

A Caf A coaching licence is a prerequisite for all coaches who participate in Caf inter-club competitions. For coaches from other confederations and those who were trained outside Africa, only valid Pro licence holders are exempted. De Jongh holds a Uefa A coaching badge.

To add salt to injury, assistant coach Patrick Mandizha also doesn’t have the required Caf A licence and unless a quick remedy is found, Pure Platinum Play, who take on Mozambique’s Costa do Sol in the first leg preliminary round tie this coming weekend, will have to prepare for the embarrassment of not having a coach on the bench. Only goalkeepers’ coach Tembo Chuma will be the bona fide member of the technical bench.

The preliminary round first leg tie will be held in Maputo with the return leg, set for the weekend of November 27-29 now pencilled for Harare after the platinum miners settled for the National Sports Stadium instead of their usual Champions League venue, Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.

No reasons have been given for the miners’ decision to ‘abandon’ the City of Kings but it is believed that only the National Sports Stadium had so far been green lighted by Caf to play host to international matches.

“The confederation of African football (Caf), has turned down Hendriks Pieter De Jongh and FC Platinum’s request for an exemption to allow the head coach to sit on the bench during Caf interclub matches. De Jongh is a holder of a Uefa A licence obtained in his native country Netherlands. A Caf A coaching licence is a prerequisite for all coaches who participate in Caf inter-club competitions. For coaches from other confederations and those who were trained outside Africa, only valid Pro licence holders are exempted.

Caf Club licensing criterion on Administration and personnel demands that all persons should be qualified for positions that they hold within football structures. To complement Caf’s stance on promoting professionalism of the game, Zifa has also been gradually enforcing club licensing dictates in the elite league,” read a statement from the Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela confirming the predicament that has fallen the Zvishavane based three times in a row Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions.

In the last Champions League, the Zvishavane side met another Mozambican side, UD Songo of Beira, in the first round.

Never Tigere, who now plays for Tanzanian side Azam, scored the only goal for FC Platinum in a 1-0 win at Barbourfields before the Zimbabweans rallied from two goals down to win 4-2 in Beira for a 5-2 aggregate win.

Should FC Platinum win their preliminary round battle, they will take on either Plateau United of Nigeria or Simba SC of Tanzania in the first round.

FC Platinum have made it clear they are targeting making a bigger impression in the Champions League this season but the latest pronouncement by Caf on their coach will certainly make that journey even tougher now especially with Egyptian clubs Al Ahly and Zamalek, who contest the 2020 CAF Champions League final on November 27, being among 11 former title-holders who have qualified for this edition. The Chronicle.

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