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Zimbabwe Football Association to Appeal Refusal of Visa for Warriors Coach Saintfiet

  • Michael Kariati

Following a special meeting of the ZIFA board Thursday evening, officials of the national association were vowing they would continue to seek a work visa for Saintfiet, said to be waiting his next move in Namibia

A top official of the Zimbabwe Football Association said Friday that the organization will again seek a work permit for its deported Belgian coach, Tom Saintfiet, who was denied such a permit this week after being deported.

Following a special meeting of the ZIFA board Thursday evening, officials of the national association were vowing they would continue to seek a work visa for Saintfiet. Acting ZIFA Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said the organization has not given up and will file another application.

Though he will not be on the bench for an international friendly against Mozambique next Wednesday, ZIFA sources said the coach will be in Maputo for the match to consult with ZIFA officials.

Mashingaidze said that with the Warriors next serious international engagement not until next March, ZIFA has time to correct any mistakes it made in the first go-round in a revised application.

Mashingaidze said that as a professional organization, ZIFA intends to honor its contract with Saintfiet given that the coach had pledged his commitment to lead Zimbabwe’s team. Under the contract, Saintfiet is to receive US$8,000 a month salary and perquisites including payments on his apartment in Germany.

The ZIFA Chief Executive said Saintfiet was doing his best to honor his contract, having terminated his association with the Namibian football Association to accept the offer to coach the Warriors.

Saintfiet is now in Namibia, sources said.

The Namibian Association has not accepted Saintfiet's resignation, however, or given him a letter of termination. Saintfiet had a falling-out with with Namibian players and the national association two days before a crucial African Cup Of Nations qualifier against Gambia, which Namibia lost 3-0.

Sources said one reason Saintfiet's application for Zimbabwean papers was turned down was that he did not provide a termination letter. There could also be resistance to granting him a work permit given support in some quarters for local Norman Mapeza as Zimbabwe coach.

Meanwhile, Mapeza has submitted his resignation to the Zimbabwe Football Association. Mapeza declined to explain why he has quite, but observers said it was probably because he was snubbed by ZIFA in favor of Madinba Ndlovu, now acting coach pending the outcome of ZIFA’s new application for Saintfiet's work permit.

Zimbabwe Soccer Supporters Association spokesman Spencer Manguwa told VOA Studio 7 reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye that ZIFA must put its house in order so Zimbabwean football is not compromised.

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