FOOTBALL coaching requires an enormous amount of mental strength and focus, all qualities that clubs value highly. The other quality that self-respecting clubs with a brand image to protect and promote value is a coach who dresses smartly.
Though, not every coach that is successful is necessarily smart, Highlanders Dutch gaffer Hendrik Pieter de Jongh showed last Saturday that not only does he dress to impress but to win as his charges won the Chibuku Super Cup.
While the development indicated that he is the sharpest tool in the shed, his fashion sense took many by surprise.
Unlike former Dynamos gaffer Lloyd “MaBlanyo” Chigowe — a terrible dresser that this publication once lampooned, De Jongh seems to own a mirror as he was immaculately dressed in a navy blue three-piece suit courtesy of Bulawayo’s Great 6 Designs.
“I am happy that Great 6 Designs are my fashion partners. For the best suits in our town go to Great 6 Designs,” posted De Jongh on his official twitter handle.
Great 6 Designs marketing manager, Buhle Ncube, a Highlanders die-hard fan said they will ensure whenever De Jongh is in the dugout he is presentable.
“We thought of dressing him up for the Chibuku Super Cup. He has done well at Highlanders and we are happy that he loved the way that we dressed him. As such, for his entire stay in Zimbabwe we will continue to provide him with suits,” said Ncube.
Before he started duty at Bosso, De Jongh was no more significant than the average man we see down the street without as much as a greeting.
Fast forward to three months, he has become a fully-fledged celebrity; the one personality in Zimbabwean football who a lot of media houses have desperately sought audience with.
He started his coaching career in 1990 as a 20-year-old rookie following a career-ending injury.
To many, De Jongh was a novice in managerial circles but in the face of odds that were stacked heavily against his new team and himself, the Dutch gaffer has successfully carved a niche for himself in the Bosso family.
The club had a sluggish start to the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League campaign, but all that changed when the Dutchman took over.
Since his arrival at the Bulawayo giants, De Jongh has been consistent in how he dresses — white long-sleeved shirt, black blazer, matching pants and brown shoes.
A picture collection done by this publication can attest to that the Bosso mentor was some Johnny Bravo (the hunky Cartoon Network character whose daily apparel remains unchanged).
“I have been head coach for 23 years and I never coached in a tracksuit. As the head coach, I believe I represent the image of the club and as such I should come out in the best possible way. There is no problem in having assistant coaches putting on tracksuits,” said De Jongh, a father of two.