Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
NEWLY-appointed Highlanders, coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh, says he has a good feeling that his time at Bosso will be great and can lead the team to a good season’s end.
The Netherlands gaffer signed a four-month performance based contract with Highlanders FC, with a clause that states that he has to win at least 70 percent of the matches that he will be in charge of.
Jongh finds Highlanders mired in a relegation dogfight, four points above safety with 28 points from 13 games.
“The contract that we have with the coach is from September to December. We have deliberately done that because we are in a situation where we need the expertise, but also to have a turnaround and have results. So, it’s an exhibition for him in a sense, it’s like a four month job interview. Hopefully, after the four months if the turnaround is good enough we will sit down, if he is happy and we are happy, we’ll map the way forward.
“There is a break down in his contract which is X number of games in a month but you would appreciate that in a month sometimes the league games don’t happen, but there is definitely a delivery clause that says 70 percent of games played should be won so that is the push factor we want to achieve. That’s marked against the reality that we need to climb to a space where we and our sponsors are in a good space,” said Nhlanhla Dube, the Highlanders chief executive officer.
The 48-year-old Dutchman was unveiled at the club’s offices last night, a few hours after securing his work permit.
The new Highlanders coach could be on the touchline tomorrow, barking instructions when his team takes on archrivals Dynamos in a Chibuku Super Cup first round match at Rufaro Stadium, in the event that he gets the greenlight from Zifa.
“I have good feeling about the club and the players,” said Jongh.
He arrived last Sunday and could not work as he was waiting for a permit.
“On Monday I met the management and staff, had a good talk about the future and how we will work. On Tuesday I observed training and Wednesday we got an important win (Highlanders beat Bulawayo Chiefs 3-1). On Thursday we did recovery and today was my first day at work after getting papers done.
“There is a young selection of the team with an average age of 23. I want us to get to play good football, work as a team and not individuals. I believe the future is good from what I saw. (Against Bulawayo Chiefs) the team was disciplined with ball possession, disciplined in movement, I liked that,” said Jongh.
Jongh’s summarised curriculum vitae:
He started his coaching career in 1990 as a 20-year-old rookie following a career-ending injury.
He has also had stints in Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Swaziland as well as Caf headquarters.
His first coaching job was with the RKCWaalwijk’s Under 14 side in 1990, staying there up until 1994 when he was now in charge of the team’s 18 -23 year age group.
He held many coaching posts in his native country before moving to Moldova to take charge of that country’s Under-21 side between 2012-13.
His first dance with African football was in 2014, as head coach of AFC Leopards in Kenya, leading them to the final of the Cecafa Cup in Sudan as well as the Top 8 Cup final in Kenya.
After partying ways with the Kenyan side he came to South Africa to take charge of FC Cape Town albeit for less than a year as he was to be on the road again heading to Rwanda as the Football Federation of Rwanda technical director. As in his previous stint in South Africa, he was in that position for less than a year, leaving in December 2016 to take up a head coach’s job with the Swaziland (Eswatini) national team. He lasted just five months there.
He took up a job with Supersport as a pundit in African football, based in Kenya from January 2018 to the end of the year.
From June 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 he was Caf technical advisor (youth development) based in Cairo, Egypt.
Jongh holds a Uefa A, B and C coaching badges, a youth trainer coaching diploma and a Fifa technical director certificate all licensed by KNVD (Royal Dutch Football Association).
On his career development objective, his CV reads;
“To apply the best of my ability, the theoretical and practical knowledge I have acquired in my professional training, to work dynamically and flexibly and cultivate teamwork, effectiveness, personal responsibility and accountability in an organisation that can make use of and further develop my broad-based education in planning, leading and peer motivation”.
He says he has “excellent organisational and analytical skills with the ability to multi-task and implement activities and also able to work in a multi-cultural environment and committed to learning”.
“Given the right framework, I possess good judgment, initiative and sense of responsibility required to contribute to growth and success,” says Jongh. — @ZililoR