Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
AS EXCLUSIVELY revealed by H-Metro last year, FC Platinum unveiled former Highlanders coach Pieter de Jongh as their new coach five days before their CAF Champions League encounter against Al Ahly.
It, however, remains doubtful if the Dutchman will take charge of the team against the Egyptians on Saturday owing to work permit issues, H-Metro understands.
The Zimbabwe champions face Al Ahly at Barbourfields in Bulawayo hunting for a maiden win in the group stage.
The development means Lizwe Sweswe, who has been relegated to the assistant coach post, will be in charge of the team, to delay de Jongh’s early return to Emagumeni.
FC Platinum yesterday confirmed the Dutchman is doubtful for the Saturday encounter due to what they referred to as ‘administrative issues’.
The club’s media liaison officer Chido Chizondo said they are hoping to fast track the process.
“All things being even, he will be on the bench against Al Ahly but we are doubtful. We cannot confirm that for now because there are some administrative issues that need to be sorted out.
“If by any chance it’s sorted, he will be there but the position is he won’t be around,” said Chizondo.
Sources at Mandava, however, said the nomadic coach will watch the team going through their paces ahead of the encounter but cannot enforce his philosophy now.
And speaking after his unveiling yesterday, de Jongh described the Zvishavane miners as a big platform where he can showcase his abilities.
“I made a decision not to extend my contract because for me as a coach I have ambitions. I want to work on a big platform and for me it’s FC Platinum. My focus is on FC Platinum,” said de Jongh.
The tactician, who had a short-term successful stint at Highlanders, said he will use his experience to bring success at Mandava.
Platinum have won the championship three times on the trot on a foundation that was built by former coach Norman Mapeza – which De Jongh acknowledged.
Mapeza won two back-to-back titles before leaving the team last season with 12 games remaining which Sweswe, who took over, went on to win.
The Zvishavane miners have, however, struggled on the African safari – a script de Jongh promised to change on a long-term plan if given the support by all the stakeholders.
“. . . I have been to 12 countries, I have a good CV. I have the experience, everyone know my contract had ended at Highlanders and as coach you look what is best for your future. Platinum for me made a very big impression, I kept looking at a lot of things and I have seen they are fairly professional.
“I don’t look at the short term, I look at a long period and I want success. I need support from the board, I need support from my staff, I need support from the players. I believe with good cooperation we can bring great success,” said de Jongh.
De Jongh will work with Sweswe and Tembo Chuma, who was also unveiled as goalkeepers’ coach yesterday.