FC PLATINUM gaffer Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh has taken a swipe at the Sports and Recreation Commission, accusing it of not giving him enough support as his club prepares for yet another dance in the Caf Champions League.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
The Zvishavane-based club started conducting training sessions last month after getting approval from the government.
But with the start of the African safari campaign less than four weeks away, the Dutchman wants his club to intensify its preparations by playing friendly matches.
The problem is that they cannot engage local teams in friendly matches because they are still inactive due to the coronavirus pandemic.
FC Platinum’s only option is to engage foreign teams, and de Jongh revealed that he had arranged matches with clubs from Mozambique.
However, he says his efforts have been frustrated by the SRC which is supposed to okay all encounters between local and foreign clubs.
“The SRC in Zimbabwe gives no support,” the outspoken de Jongh said. “I have no idea if we will be able to play any friendlies because we are not getting any support in making us have the necessary preparations as we are equally representing the country.
“We need these friendly games as well as support of everyone. But it’s surprising that the key stakeholders seem disinterested. Without friendly games, there is potentially no success possible for us because we will not be able to acclimatise to a full competitive match. Remember we have been sitting at home for half the year,” he said.
Having been training the team for over a month now, de Jongh acknowledged that his players’ physical fitness had improved.
It is the lack of match fitness which is worrying him.
“I have lost hope, but I am really focusing on training with my boys and that’s good for me and everyone here. We are improving every week and I hope we can be able to remain fit until the time to play comes.”
FC Platinum, which will participate in the Caf Champions League in the preliminary round, will soon know their opponents in the initial stage.
The draw will take place soon after the conclusion of the 2019/2020 edition of the tournament later this month.
The first leg of the preliminary rounds of the competitions is scheduled to be played between November 20 and 22 while the second leg will be played between November 27 and 29.
The group stage draw is set to be held on January 17, 2021 while the quarter-final draw is scheduled for April 30, 2021.
First-round matches of the Champions League group stage will be held on February 12 and 13, the second round on February 23 and 24, the third round on March 5 and 6, the fourth round on March 16 and 17, the fifth round on April 2 and 4, and the sixth round on April 10 and 11.
The final has been set for July 17 next year.