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Monday , 21 January 2019

79 yr-old Westerhof wants to stop coaching at 81

Former Nigeria coach Clemens Westerhof says his age is no barrier to his desire to keep working in African football as he considers opportunities in Zimbabwe.

The 78-year-old Dutchman coached Zimbabwe between 1998 and 2000 and worked in the Zimbabwean top flight at Dynanyoro in Harare.

Westerhof, 78, masterminded Nigeria’s success in the 1990s, guiding them to the Nations Cup trophy in 1994, insisting that: “I will not go in front with football shoes on and kick balls left and right – no, no, no. But I will tell them how to do it. And I will choose those coaches to work with me, who must have the same idea as I have. The same feeling and passion for it that you will see.”

Although Westerhof has a long and impressive career behind him, he still has dreams and ambitions to improve African football.

“I’m still young. In my body and soul, I’m still young. But I know, at this moment, I must do everything one step slower,” Westerhof told BBC Sport.

As he prepares for his 79th birthday this year, he says he still has much to give to football in Africa.

“I am currently thinking about combining a job in Zimbabwe as a coach at a telecom club in Gweru together with an advisory role at a football academy, the Peter Mubi Academy,” Westerhof said.

“They want me to improve the academy, build it from the ground up. I hope I can achieve there what I’ve done in Nigeria in the past and improve the level of football in Zimbabwe in general.”

Westerhof is keen to collaborate with Dutch football clubs to make the academy in Zimbabwe a big success.

“Ajax already has it with Ajax Cape Town and I am thinking about a partnership with either Vitesse, PSV or Feyenoord. I want to go to PSV and ask head coach Mark van Bommel and his advisor Bert van Marwijk to work with us.”

Westerhof is still revered in Nigeria where he is credited for masterminding the Super Eagles’ success in the 1990s.

He guided the Super Eagles to Africa Cup of Nations success in 1994 and then led them to the second round of the World Cup a few months later.

Westerhof, who is the longest-serving manager in the history of Nigerian football, also coached in the Netherlands, South Africa, Egypt as well as in Zimbabwe, and he says he is not yet ready to leave the game he loves.

“Maybe two years more, by the grace of God, and then I’ll stop.”

About Younews Ng

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