Former Nigeria’s national team Technical Adviser, Clemens Westerhof says he will think of quitting coaching in Africa when he clocks 80.
The Dutch who supervised Nigeria football’s golden era by leading the country to first World Cup appearance in USA ’94 after winning the AFCON in Tunisia earlier said at 78, his age is no barrier to his desire to keep working in African football as he considers opportunities in Zimbabwe.
Westerhof coached Zimbabwe between 1998 and 2000 and worked in the Zimbabwean top flight at Dynanyoro in Harare.
Westerhof insisted “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 the Dutchman 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.
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.”