Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
Reigning Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions and Zimbabwe’s Total Caf Champions league representatives FC Platinum have sensationally parted ways with their controversial Dutch expatriate coach Peiter De Jongh and rehired former coach Norman Mapeza.
The unexpected divorce comes hard on the heels of a directive by Caf that the Dutchman will not be allowed to sit on the bench during Pure Platinum Play’s Champions league matches because he does not have a Uefa Pro licence as he holds a Uefa A coaching badge.
Yesterday, club president Fabian Mashingaidze said the two parties went separate ways ‘for the good of the club’ before hailing De Jongh for the good work that he did for the club, noting that he led the club to a Castle Challenge Cup victory after they beat Bulawayo giants Highlanders 2-0 in the final played at Barbourfields Stadium on March 14 this year, a few days before the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Consequent to the Caf position leading to the position which the club has already communicated through a press statement, action has been taken to ascertain continuity of the club in the Caf Champions League campaign and locally. The FC Platinum board and executive would like to advise all stakeholders and the public the common decision between the coach ( Pieter De Jongh) and the club executive to part ways for the good of the club. We are pleased to announce the return of Norman Mapeza to take the team forward . Coach Mapeza has a proven record of success with the club having won two Premier Soccer League titles in addition to leading the Caf Champions league charge,” reads a statement by club president Mashingaidze.
Meanwhile, De Jongh is this coming week expected to hold a ‘tell all press’ conference in the presence of his lawyer. The presser, according to sources will be held in Bulawayo.
The Dutchman is not short of controversy and has, in his brief stint with the Zvishavane based side, found himself at loggerheads with national institutions like Zifa and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) although he denied ever antagonising the country’s supreme sports body.
He came to Zimbabwe on a Highlanders ticket before dumping the Bulawayo giants for Pure Platinum Play, a move that angered many Highlanders fans who received the news of his shock sacking yesterday with jubilation.
Many took to social media to express their excitement.