BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh is open to extending his contract with Highlanders beyond its December 31 expiry date after turning Bosso from a farce into a force to reckon with over the last three months.
The Dutchman has lifted Bosso from the doldrums, where the Bulawayo giants were flirting with the relegation dogfight, and they now sit fifth on the table, eyeing at least a top-four finish.
To spice up his success, this afternoon, he leads the team out to tussle for the Chibuku Super Cup with Ngezi Platinum Stars in a final that will be played at Barbourfields Stadium.
While he has not applied for the vacant Warriors post, De Jongh told NewsDay Weekender Sport that it would be an honour for him to coach the Zimbabwe senior national football team.
He is yet to lose a match since he came on board at the Bulawayo giants at the end of September, presiding over nine league matches in which he has won four times and drawn five games and bundled out giants Dynamos and FC Platinum of the Chibuku Super Cup, while beating ZPC Kariba in the semi-finals.
There are whispers that the travelled coach has been sounded out by other local clubs, but De Jongh said he was happy at Highlanders and would love to continue working for the giants.
“My focus is on the cup (Chibuku Super Cup) and finishing the league in a good position. I have produced very good results with Highlanders and that is not in dispute. I love the club,” he said.
“When I arrived, Highlanders were a sinking ship, but I have had a good working relationship and co-operation with the staff. I am open to discussions with Highlanders on contract extension, but for every coach, it is an honour to work for an FA.”
Armed with a Uefa A Licence, the Dutchman’s last job at national level was with Eswatini national team (Sihlangu), where he was sacked at the beginning of last year.
He also worked for Rwanda (technical director) and coached the Olympic team in Moldova, among other jobs.
He has also coached AFC Leopards in Kenya and FC Cape in South Africa.
De Jongh is excited about working in the local league, which he says is very competitive, and rates it above the top-flights of South Africa, Swaziland and Kenya.
“The Zimbabwean league is very competitive, of high level and maybe not well structured, but in terms of quality, it is better than South Africa, Kenya and Swaziland,” he said.
“There is a lot of quality players and competition, where you have at the start of the season at the least eight to 10 clubs, Caps United, FC Platinum, Chicken Inn, ZPC Kariba, Dynamos, Highlanders, Triangle, Manica Diamonds, Black Rhinos competing for the league title and that is good.”