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Mapeza bounces back

BY TERRY MADYAUTA FC Platinum has resolved to part ways with coach Heindrikus Pieter de Jong and replace him with revered gaffer Norman Mapeza. This follows Caf’s refusal to grant de Jongh a special dispensation to sit on the bench during interclub matches without the mandatory Caf A coaching license. And the platinum miners have opted to cut him loose in their relentless bid for better fortunes in the continental club premier competition where they have failed to go beyond the group stages in three consecutive attempts. The Dutchman holds a Uefa A coaching badge which the continental mother body, Caf does not recognise. When de Jongh was hired it was made clear that his main task was to help FC Platinum go beyond the group stage in the premier continental club competition. However with him ineligible to sit on the bench, the club felt he cannot stir the team to meet their expectations and have opted to restore Mapeza who holds the required badge. After having allowed de Jongh to elbow out caretaker coach Lizwe Sweswe from the Zvishavane team, the platinum miners have been forced to lick their wounds. Mapeza,  who had a successful stint with the miners where he won the league title,  takes over with just a week before the platinum miners plunge into the Caf Champions prelimimary round against Costa do Sol of Mozambique. The club announced the new developments in a Press statement last night. “Consequent to the position by Caf leading to events which the club has already communicated through a Press statement on the 18th of November 2020, 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 in general the common decision between coach Heindrikus Pieter de Jongh and the club executive to part ways for the greater good of the club. “Our most sincere thanks to coach de Jongh and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club to competing at the level we all expected and demanded. Through his leadership we managed to retain the Castle Challenge Cup early this year. Circumstances outside both parties’ expectations have necessitated the position. The management, board and executive wish coach de Jongh all the success in his future endeavours. “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 PSL titles in addition to leading the Caf Champions league charge. “Mapeza takes the team fully aware of the club’s vision in a fresh challenge, he comes in ready to go. To our stakeholders, fans and followers, the journey continues in confidence and high spirits,” read the statement. The Dutchman leaves the Zvishavane side having only presided over one match, when FC Platinum beat Highlanders 2-0 in the Castle Challenge Cup at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo. Follow Terry on Twitter @madyautatpm

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