BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Pieter de Jongh is set to become the FC Platinum coach on January 1 after the Dutch national snubbed a contract offer from Highlanders where he worked for five months.
NewsDay Sport revealed last week that FC Platinum had spoken to De Jongh after deciding against elevating Lizwe Sweswe who presided over their third title triumph.
De Jongh announced on Twitter that he would not be extending his stay at Highlanders as he was pursuing new challenges.
A source yesterday said De Jongh had agreed terms with the Zvishavane-based club, but out of respect for Highlanders, an official announcement will only be made once his deal at Bosso expires on December 31.
Sweswe will take charge of the team for the final time when they clash with Al Ahly in a Caf Champions League group match in Cairo on Friday and when the platinum miners host the Egyptian giants on Valentines Day, De Jongh will be in charge.
FC Platinum bosses want Sweswe to retain his role of assistant coach and he has a contract that runs until the end of next year.
The champions’ club management want to make an impact in the Champions League and felt that Sweswe may not deliver on their demands.
FC Platinum currently sit at the bottom of their group having suffered back-to-back defeats to Al Hilal of Sudan and Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia. They face an uphill task to get out of the group.
By winning the 2019 league title, FC Platinum clinched another ticket for the 2020-21 Caf Champions League and have started preparing for the challenges that lie ahead.
De Jongh has vast experience, having worked for a number of clubs across the continent and having acquitted himself well at Highlanders by steering them away from the relegation dogfight to finish sixth as well as winning the Chibuku Super Cup.
Meanwhile Sweswe is hoping that the team can recover from their bad start to the Champions League.
FC Platinum leave the country today for Egypt where they will try and cause a big upset against one of the tournament favourites.
Sweswe admits that they face a big task, but remains optimistic that they can come out with something.
“We are facing Al Ahly, a big continental giant. We are just ourselves, so we are mainly interested in the way, we are going to apply ourselves in this match,” he said.
“I am hopeful, good results are coming our
way, especially that confidence is high in camp after we did well to win the league for the third time.”