By Mehluli Sibanda
Former FC Platinum coach Pieter de Jongh has revealed that he left Highlanders since he wanted to take charge of a team playing continental football.
Addressing a press conference at a Bulawayo lodge yesterday, the Dutchman said after his four-month stint with Highlanders, he had offers from Namibia, Sudan, Tanzania and Cambodia.
De Jongh said while he wanted to remain with Bosso, he had a feeling that the Bulawayo giants were not going to participate in the Caf Confederation Cup, which influenced his decision to move to FC Platinum after consulting his family and those close to him.
He said it was not easy to leave Highlanders because the club gave him a good offer to extend his stay. De Jongh only lost one league match against the Highlanders as they went on to finish sixth. They also won the Chibuku Super Cup with a 1-0 triumph over Ngezi Platinum Stars at Barbourfields Stadium.
“I made the decision to go to FC Platinum, a very professional club, not as big as Highlanders. The intention was first to stay at Highlanders, only later I flew in to consult with my family on what is best for my future. For me as a coach, I wanted to work at the highest level, I had a feeling we could not play continental football, it was not easy, Highlanders gave me a good offer,’’ De Jongh said.
The Dutchman was not happy with the Caf decision to bar him from sitting on the bench in the Champions League, which led to him and FC Platinum agreeing to part ways.
“I have Uefa A diploma, Uefa A diploma is much higher than Caf A. I have no doubt, I was technical director for Rwanda FA. In Europe you study one year for Uefa A diploma, in Africa two weeks you score a Caf A diploma,’’ he said.
De Jongh’s lawyer, Nqobani Sithole, said his client was disappointed that FC Platinum did not challenge Caf’s decision.
“One of the things that the coach was very concerned about was the failure by FC Platinum to challenge what Caf have made. It’s water under the bridge, he still believes that he is more than qualified to sit on the bench but now that the parties have disengaged, it will still remain subject to interpretation,’’ Sithole said.
De Jongh disclosed that he now has offers from clubs in Libya, Hong Kong and the Namibia Football Association who want to make him their technical director. The Dutchman is still keen on remaining in Zimbabwe but only if he can sign with a club that is championship winning material.
Just to show how much he is in love with Zimbabwe, De Jongh, who has not been to his native Netherlands since 2017 is in no hurry to leave the Southern African nation since he is heading off to Victoria Falls on holiday. The Sunday News