Clemens Westerhof: Soccer Coach (78) Returning to Zimbabwe

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

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

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.

"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.
Clemens Westerhof

"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," said the Dutchman.

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 1990's.

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."

Westerhof was married to Zimbabwean model Tendayi Westerhof (née Katekete); however, their marriage ended in a much-publicised divorce in 2002 in her home country that resulted in his being forced to leave to South Africa as his work permit had expired in Zimbabwe. 

She told the Financial Gazette newspaper that, "I have four children with three men... and not four" and that her ex-husband had not paid a "single cent" towards the support of their daughter, Aaliyah Nyashadzashe. 

Tendayi also went public with her HIV positive status, blaming Westerhof for it, allegations which he denied. - BBC Sport

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