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Zimbabwe Football Association Digs In Over Deported Coach As Captain Resigns

Zimbabwe Warriors coach Tom Saintfiet was deported by immigration authorities on October 5 just days before an Africa Cup Of Nations match against Cape Verde

Despite mounting criticism over the appointment of Belgian Tom Saintfiet as coach of Zimbabwe's Warriors national soccer team, deported last week by authorities for lack of a work permit, the Zimbabwe Football Association says it will stand by its decision to engage him over local candidates with popular support.

Saintfiet was deported October 5 just days before an Africa Cup Of Nations match against Cape Verde by the Zimbabwe Immigration Authority. ZIFA has been trying to secure a work permit for him ever since.

But Zimbabwe Warriors fans are disillusioned and want ZIFA to put its house in order instead of leaving management of the team to Saintfiet’s assistants Madida Ndlovu and Norman Mapeza as caretaker coaches.

The Warriors face Mali in their next Africa Cup Of Nations qualifier six months from now.

ZIFA Director Benedict Moyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye that he hopes Saintfiet’s immigration status will have been worked out by that time.

Meanwhile Warriors captain Benjamin Mwaruwari dropped a bombshell announcing that he will no longer join the team for international matches but will concentrate on his duties with Black Burn Rovers in the United Kingdom.

Fans are divided over Mwaruwari's decision to quit playing for Zimbabwe: some say his departure robs the team of much-needed experience, while others say he was ready to retire and has done so gracefully.