Dutch coach for HIGHLANDERS…. Arriving in two weeks


HIGHLANDERS chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede inadvertently announced that a Dutchman would be named the club’s coach, two weeks before his scheduled arrival.

In a “slip of the tongue” during the club’s Thursday press conference, Gumede said a Dutch coach will be in the country to watch Highlanders’ last four games of the season.

Three Dutch coaches, Erol Akbay, Hendrick Pieter de Jongh and Clemence Westerhof are among the eight foreign coaches that have applied for the Bosso hot seat.

The other coaches who applied for the Highlanders’ job are ex-Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri, who has previously coached South African Premiership side Free State Stars, an American Jeff Cook, Ethiopia’s Anteneh Eshete, Scotsman Des Bulpin, former Caps United’s Mark Harrison and Zambian Dean Mwende.

“Our potential coach should be with us in the next two weeks. We’re fortunate in the sense that we’ve got no league games this weekend but he’ll watch the Buffaloes, Hwange, Tsholotsho FC and ZPC matches. Actually that person will be coming from Holland,” said Gumede.

After realising that he had let the cat out of the bag, Gumede who declined to give the name of their preferred coach said; “…it’s just a slip of the tongue.”

Age could work against the 75-year-old former national team coach Westerhof as Bosso is reportedly interested in a younger gaffer.

This means 49-year-old Akbay, who was recommended by the club’s long time benefactor Tshinga Dube or 45-year-old Pieter de Jongh would be picked to take charge of Bosso.

The odds favour Pieter de Jongh who has continental coaching experience, having coached AFC Leopards who are in the Kenyan Premier League.

According to information on Wikipedia, Pieter de Jongh has 25 years coaching experience, having started his managerial career at RKC Waalwijk as a youth coach in 1990, before becoming a youth coach for the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) between 1994-97. He moved on to manage vvVRC in Veenendaal, FC Dordrecht’s reserve team from 1997-99.

He spent the 2007-08 season at Vitesse Delft before becoming the assistant coach of AZ in the Dutch topflight league Eredivisie the following season. Pieter de Jongh then went to Hungary to become the academy director of Budapest Honvéd from 2013 to the beginning of 2014 before moving to Kenya.

Akbay is a development coach, according to his CV that is available online.

According to his CV, Akbay has spent 17-years coaching in The Netherlands’ second tier league. He was also among 39 coaches that applied for the Rwanda national team job in February this year. His CV shows that he first ventured into coaching in 1997, spending two years in charge of Heracles Almelo’s Under-19 team before being asked to take charge of the Under-17s in the 1999-2000 season.

From 2000-2002 the Dutchman was involved in scouting for players from the Under-10 to Under-19 age-groups.

He was then appointed head coach of second division side HVV Hengelo for the 2002-2003 season and led them to a fifth position finish, and also led the club to the semi-finals of a domestic cup.

The following season, he moved to another second division side Barbaros and finished 11th. He then joined another second league side BWO for the 2004-2005 season and led them to a top four finish. From 2005-2008, Akbay joined Twello, who finished sixth in his first season and fifth and sixth in the following two seasons.

He then moved to Barbaros as a technical advisor between 2008-2011. The coach returned to HVV Hengelo in 2011 as head coach and stayed there for three seasons. In his three years at the club, he led them to a seventh place finish in his first season and fifth in both the second and third seasons.