Eddie Chikamhi and Tadious Manyepo
FORMER FC Platinum coach, Pieter De Jongh, is considering challenging CAF’s decision to disqualify him from sitting on the bench for the continent’s inter-club competitions.
The Dutchman, who has since been laid off by Zimbabwe champions FC Platinum, feels hard done by the new rule that says only those in possession of CAF A badge, and Pro Licence from other confederations, will be allowed to sit on the bench.
De Jongh told reporters, in the presence of his legal counsel, he was also disappointed local football authorities failed to stand up for him.
“I find it strange that CAF sends a letter to ZIFA and that ZIFA make a press statement without consulting me,” said De Jongh.
“I find it strange that the letter comes from ZIFA just a few days before kick-off.
“In my opinion, how is it possible that in January and February I was sitting on the bench in the Champions League and everything was okay and they change the rules in September?
“The other point is that in Zimbabwe they have never organized a CAF A coaching course in the past four-five years.
“Now CAF says I can’t sit on the bench; they say CAF A is the same level as UEFA Pro. No that’s not true.
“CAF A isn’t the same level as UEFA Pro, how is it possible?”
De Jongh, who was part of the previous Champions League campaign, parted ways with FC Platinum after CAF’s bombshell.
The club have since turned to their former coach, Norman Mapeza, who marked his return with a 2-1 away win at Mozambique’s Costa do Sol in the first leg of the preliminary round of the 2020-21 campaign.
De Jongh’s lawyer, Nqobani Sithole, said his client was disappointed ZIFA did not make an effort to challenge CAF’s decision.
“Maybe, to clarify on that, it’s more technical. You approach a court when there is a conflict.
“Whether CAF is going to be happy or not happy it’s one thing but the most important thing is that there must be determinants.
“At the end of the day he finds himself in a situation where a few months ago he was qualified to be on the bench and then just five-seven months he is not qualified.
“So, there is a challenge there and, as we speak right now, he strongly believes that he is more qualified to sit on the bench.
“But, since he was under the flagship of FC Platinum, and they have decided that they are not going to challenge that decision, he finds himself in a very difficult situation.
“But, going forward, we might take instructions so that he approaches CAF in his personal capacity so that there is determinants.
De Jongh holds UEFA A coaching badges and has also challenged the position that his qualification is inferior to the CAF A Licence.
“Our position has been that; we are saying that somebody who has a degree is not qualified to hold a position where a diploma is needed,” said Sithole.
“It’s a matter of interpretation and, unfortunately, we have never been given the opportunity that this aspect is dealt with to finality.
“I think the principle is very simple. It’s the principle natural justice where when a decision is being made against a man he must be given an opportunity to at least say something.
“But, in this instance we found it a little bit strange in the sense that he only got to hear about these things in the media and no one had the energy to challenge it regardless of the fact that it was a little bit unfair because he strongly believes he is more than qualified.
“So, he never got the platform to exercise that right,” said Sithole.
Meanwhile, FC Platinum will camp in Harare for the rest of this week ahead of their CAF Champions League second leg tie against Mozambique side Costa Do Sol at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday.
The Zvishavane side will, for the first time in four successive seasons, use the National Sports Stadium as their home ground for the continental competition after their usual home, Barbourfields, was condemned by CAF.
The National Sports Stadium was temporarily cleared to host high-profile international matches after Government made tremendous steps towards renovating the facility.
Club spokesperson, Chido Chizondo, confirmed the team will be in Harare for the rest of this week.
“We are not returning to Zvishavane. We will be in Harare for the rest of the week preparing for the return leg at the National Sports Stadium,” said Chizondo.
“We are going to host our opponents at the National Sports Stadium in Harare and we have seen no reason why we should prepare for the match in Zvishavane.
“Instead, we will be in Harare training at the match venue and we will only be returning to our base after the match.
“We have considered a lot of factors to come to this decision, including the need to get accustomed to the turf.”
For the third year running, FC Platinum will be using an adopted venue as their Mandava home has again fallen short of the CAF minimum required standards.
Despite the stadium having virtually everything, including an excellent turf, CAF have continuously flagged the fact that it doesn’t have serviceable flood lights.
The stadium is owned by the Zvishavane Town Council whose authorities have since appealed to the Government for assistance in uplifting the venue.
About US$80 000 is needed for the floodlights alone.
FC Platinum have used Barbourfields as their home for their previous CAF outings.