BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
NEW Highlanders coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh is set to sit on the bench for the first time in an epic Chibuku Super Cup first round clash with arch-rivals Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium this afternoon.
The match will have a bearing on the Dutchman’s future with Bosso after he was given a short four-month contract, which will be reviewed at the end of the season based on the team’s performance.
Highlanders unveiled the coach on Friday after managing to acquire a work permit for the foreign coach earlier on the day.
De Jongh is likely to take charge of the team against Dynamos and is aiming to begin life in Zimbabwean football with a win.
“Sunday is a big match. It’s not easy because we play away this battle. In Kenya [with AFC Leopards], I won my first match against Gor Mahia and my second was a draw,” he said following his unveiling.
“I know it’s a big match and there has to be a winner if the 90 minutes is finished and if it’s a draw it’s the dreaded penalty kicks, so we will try to win in the 90 minutes. And we are going for a win, but we know it’s not going to be easy because Dynamos is a big club, but Highlanders is also a big club,” de Jongh said.
The Dutchman has been given the target to win 70% of the matches he will be in charge of the club until the end of the season to keep his job.
“So the contract that we have with Pieter is four months, that is September to December. We have done that deliberately because we are in a place where we need a turnaround in results, so it’s a four months’ job interview and 70% of the games should be won because we need to climb to a place where we are secure with our sponsors,” Highlanders chief excecutive Nhlanhla
Dube told reporters.
De Jongh takes over a struggling side, currently placed 11th in the league, four points above the relegation zone.
The nomadic coach has promised results as well as developing players, assistant coaches and to create important networks for the club.
Dynamos will be missing the services of captain Edward Sadomba, Simba Nhivi and Evans Katema to injury as they seek to win their first Chibuku Cup since the tournament returned in 2014.
“It will be an exciting match which we are looking forward to and hopefully it will turn out as such. We are looking forward to playing well and qualifying to the next round,” coach Tonderai Ndiraya said ahead of the biggest match of the first round.
Dynamos have not lost a match in the league in 11 games, but interestingly their last defeat came against Highlanders in Bulawayo mid-June.
Chibuku Super Cup results and fixtures
Yesterday: CAPS United 0-0 Harare City (Harare City win 7-6 on penalties), Ngezi Platinum 2-0 Mushowani Stars, ZPC Kariba 2-1 Hwange
Today: Dynamos v Highlanders (Rufaro), Black Rhinos v TelOne (National Sports Stadium), Chicken Inn v Manica Diamonds (Luveve).