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PIETER DE JONGH IN ESWATINI?

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MBABANE – FC Platinum coach Hendrikus Pieter De Jongh is alleged to be in the kingdom of Eswatini to meet potential employers.

FC Platinum is a Zimbabwean top-flight football club based in the Midlands province. As reported by Zimbabwe’s Chronicles Sports newspaper published on Tuesday, it is believed that the Dutchman found his way to South Africa en-route to Eswatini but was reportedly barred from entering the kingdom from the South African side, because he did not have the essential Covid-19 testing certificate and a clearance letter from the South African embassy in Harare. The nomadic gaffer, however, claimed that he had the Covid-19 certificate after being tested at a Gweru private clinic last Thursday, which cleared him and said the only reason he could not proceed to Eswatini was due to a communication breakdown.

Potential

It was also reported that De Jongh refuted claims that he intended meeting potential employers in the country, but instead said he wanted to utilise his visit to Eswatini, which he said was private, to arrange a training camp for his Pure Platinum Play side as part of preparations for the next version of the Total CAF Champions League campaign expected to kick-off in October. “There was just a small communication breakdown that required me to have a letter from the South African embassy so that I can pass through their country on my way to Eswatini, a visit which by the way was more private than anything, although I also wanted to organise a camp for my club (FC Platinum) as part of our preparations for the CAF Champions League,” De Jongh was quoted in the Chronicles Sport newspaper.

Aware

Eswatini Football Association’s Communications and Marketing Officer Muzi Radebe said the EFA was not aware of De De Jongh’s visit or arrangements for a camp for his team. The FC Platinum mentor had a year stint as Sihlangu coach from March 2017, with Sihlangu having played just one qualifier during this period.; De Jongh replaced the current Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga, who was in charge of the team between 2014 and 2016. “So far we have no idea if he is in the country or not. Nothing pertaining to camp was communicated with us at the moment,” said Radebe.

Meanwhile, the fate of the 209/2020 football season would be announced in August as projected by EFA Chief Executive Officer Frederick Mngometulu during the association’s Annual General Meeting last month. Since football is currently suspended, it remains unclear whether De Jongh’s intended visit was for work or leisure.

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