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Added October 6th, 2010 by Ian

Zimbabwe football manager and coach both deported

It looks like Zimbabwe is in a bit of a pickle at the moment, just days ahead of the country’s home game against Cape Verde in the African Cup of Nations qualifying round as their manager, Tom Saintfiet of Belgium has been deported.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) announced that Saintfiet ordered deported during a training session with the squad on Oct. 5th. Apparently he had been coaching and managing without o proper work permit and was ordered to leave Zimbabwe by Oct. 6th, just a day later.

However, ZIFA said he might be able to come back if the government approves his application for a coaching permit. Another member of the team’s staff, German Lutz Pfannenstiel has also been asked to leave the nation because he hasn’t gone through the proper immigration channels. Pfannenstiel was accused of fixing matches in Singapore about 10 years ago, but denied any involvement.

Saintfiet had just taken over the manager’s job as he inked a four-year deal with the country on Sept. 24. But it looks like the contract will be ripped up if he can’t get his work permit approved. Zimbabwe’s soccer officials have been split over Saintfiet’s appointment as some of them believe that caretaker manager Norman Mapeza of Zimbabwe should have been given the job.

Saintfiet’s applied for a work permit with the state Sports and Recreation Commission, but the commission wants to know why the team needs a foreign manager and why he’s being paid about U.S. $8,000 a month as well as expenses. The commission also said it prefers to hire local coaches and only supports foreigners if they provide the team with “clear advantages,” but the football association hasn’t justified the hiring yet.

Zimbabwe radio stations Wednesday that Saintfiet, who is the former manager of Namibia, was involved in angry exchanges with Zimbabwe football association officials after hearing the news and then angrily left the team’s training session at the National Sports Stadium.

Some ZIFA officials accused Saintfiet of providing false information on his application regarding his football career when he applied for the job. However, he denied this. The assistant coach, Pfannenstiel, was hired by Saintfiet, and he said he was leaving the country on Oct. 6.

The German was cleared by FIFA in of 2001 match-fixing charges and a temporary ban he received was then lifted. He said he’s coached and played in several nations since then with Saintfiet, such as New Zealand, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa.

Zimbabwe media has described the team’s managerial and coaching crew as a farce of blunders as it chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya was suspended a few weeks ago due to match-fixing allegations involving an Asian gambling syndicate at a Malaysian tournament in December. Zimbabwe lost 3-0 to Thailand and 6-0 to Syria in that event.

 
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