Keeper De Jong chooses family over Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker has accepted goalkeeper Boy de Jong's decision to dump the club in favour of a return home in Holland amid the coronavirus pandemic.
De Jong, who turns 26 in two weeks' time, had joined Stellenbosch in July from Belgian outfit Anderlecht. The Dutchman played 17 Absa Premiership games and conceded 23 goals, with only six clean sheets.
As Covid-19 continues to spread worldwide, De Jong asked Stellenbosch to terminate his contract last week, so he could go back to the Netherlands and be with his new family.
"He [De Jong] recently got married, he's got a young daughter. So, it was concerning for him to be away from his family, with the coronavirus pandemic getting out of hand globally. It eventually got clear that flights to the Netherlands were going to be cancelled, so he wasn't sure whenever he was going to be able to go back home," Barker detailed to Sowetan yesterday.
"We had a meeting with him. We understood his situation. Family sometimes takes precedence over football, especially with human lives involved. So, there was nothing sinister with his departure. We support his decision."
It's the uncertainty surrounding the resumption of the league, coupled with strong precautions for people coming to the country from Europe that made it a bit easier for Stellenbosch to let De Jong leave for good.
"We don't know when the league will restart, so it did not make sense for him to go back to the Netherlands and we quarantine him upon his return. It was going to be a long process," said Stellies coach.
Barker also confirmed they've no plans to replace De Jong once the league resumes. "We've just six games to go and we're happy with our goalkeeping department. We have Lee Langeveldt and Keegan Pool. Should a need arise, we also have young promising MDC keepers we can promote."
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