Tadious Manyepo, Sports Reporter
DUTCHMAN Hendrik Pieter de Jongh chose not to extend his stay at Highlanders after his relationship with some club chiefs broke down over a fallout sparked by the loss to city neighbours Bulawayo Chiefs.
He felt that defeat was an attack on his reputation.
De Jongh was unhappy over the way Bosso lost their penultimate league match against Chiefs to dent his unbeaten run at the country’s oldest football club last season.
The Dutch mentor felt the 0-1 loss at the hands of Bulawayo Chiefs, at a time his troops were flying, was suspicious and some of his players didn’t give it their all in that game.
But the Highlanders establishment said there was nothing suspicious about their loss to Chiefs and slammed those who have been peddling conspiracy theories related to that match.
“As Highlanders FC, we are a professional club and we wouldn’t want to be associated with such demeaning acts in the game,” said Bosso spokesperson Ronald Moyo.
“To set the record straight, never at any point did the coach, De Jongh, said he wasn’t signing the contract due to the said match-fixing allegations.
“He indicated that he was going to take up new challenges. If there had been something, obviously the coach was supposed to say it out officially to the club.
“In any case, this was not the first time that Bulawayo Chiefs beat Highlanders. In 2018, they also beat us.”
They also managed to beat Chicken Inn and FC Platinum so what is so fussy about beating Highlanders?
“This (conspiracy theories) is all over the place and as a club, we see it as an attempt to character-assassinate us . . .”
The Dutchman took over the reins at Bosso in the last three months of the season and transformed the club into the envy of the league after they went on an unbeaten run in all competitions.
The magical run propelled Highlanders, who until De Jongh’s arrival had been languishing near the relegation zone, into top-four reckoning.
He also delivered the Chibuku Super Cup for the team in style as they ousted Dynamos and FC Platinum along the way.
And he looked well on course to secure a lengthy contract with Bosso, until his unbeaten run in charge of the team was halted, by relegation-threatened Bulawayo Chiefs in the penultimate round of the marathon.
Highlanders fell 0-1 to their neighbours who needed to win that match to brighten their survival hopes.
But De Jongh is said to have been furious, after the defeat, which he felt could taint his reputation which he had crafted well since arriving at Bosso.
The Dutchman was not amused to hear some Bosso officials had met their Bulawayo Chiefs counterparts, in the countdown to the match, exploring the possibilities of the Bulawayo giants acquiring some players from their city neighbours.
“I am not surprised with this result…,” De Jongh said after the match.