Zimbabwe: FC Platinum Coach De Jongh Barred

18 November 2020

Senior Sports Reporter

FC PLATINUM were last night locked in a meeting to find a way to deal with the decision by CAF not to give a special dispensation to coach, Hendrikus Pieter De Jongh, to sit on the bench during their Champions League matches.

The Dutchman doesn't have a CAF A licence and, as per the CAF guidelines, cannot sit on the bench during the club's battles on the continent.

The Zimbabwe champions will be away to Costa do Sol, on the weekend of November 27 to 29, in the first leg of the preliminary round.

They will then host the Mozambicans between December 4 and 6.

The Zvishavane side had applied for an exemption to be granted to their expatriate coach, who is a holder of a UEFA A licence, obtained from Netherlands.

But, yesterday, ZIFA notified the club the request was turned down by the continental football governing body.

"The Confederation of African Football has turned down Hendrikus Pieter De Jongh and FC Platinum's request for an exemption to allow the head coach to sit on the bench during CAF interclub matches," said ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, in a statement.

"De Jongh is a holder of a UEFA A licence obtained in his native country Netherlands.

"A CAF A coaching licence is a pre-requisite for all coaches who participate in CAF interclub competitions.

"For coaches, from other confederations and those who were trained outside Africa, only valid Pro-licence holders are exempted.

"CAF club licensing criterion, on administration and personnel, demands that all persons should be qualified for positions that they hold within football structures.

"To complement CAF's stance on promoting professionalisation of the game, ZIFA has also been gradually enforcing club licencing dictates in the elite league."

A EUFA Pro licence is valid for two years and it's likely that De Jongh papers might have been obtained more than two years ago and were not renewed.

It is not clear whether an explanation was provided to ZIFA, on why the papers under consideration, did not pass the CAF test.

Patrick Mandizha is the club's assistant coach and could be tasked with directing matters, from the bench, in the matches against Costa do Sol.

Last month, the champions scored a first when they became the first Zimbabwean club to obtain the CAF club licensing certificate.

The Zvishavane miners were licenced exactly a week before the October 20 deadline, set by CAF for clubs, participating in the 2020-2021 inter-club competitions.

ZIFA, the licensing authority, then said FC Platinum had met the minimum requirements.

After the club were awarded the licence, having met the minimum requirements, Gwesela said the club had applied for an exemption for their coach.

"If a coach does not hold CAF A Licence coaching licence, but has other alternatives like the UEFA coaching badge, a club has to apply for special dispensation," he said.

"The CAF office will look at the documentation and make their own determination.

"In short, CAF are taking club licensing to another level in order to develop football on the continent.

"The Club Licencing concept is increasingly getting improved and we encourage our clubs to update, and adapt, to the new model as it is the future of professional football," Yesterday, the club spokesperson, Chido Chizondo, said they will furnish the media with further details after an executive meeting held last night.

"Currently, the executive is in a meeting deliberating the email they got from ZIFA. So, we will advise after the meeting," said Chizondo.

The three-time Zimbabwe champions have failed to make it past the group stages, so far, in their continental adventure.

They will be attempting to break that ceiling, this time around, but they will have to first find a formula to clear the preliminary and first round hurdles.

FC Platinum have not been active, for the past seven months, and only regrouped for team training last month. The miners have reached the group stages in the past two campaigns.

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