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Saintfiet optimistic

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New Warriors coach Tom Saintfiet is positive he will acquire a work permit ahead of Zimbabwe’s crucial 2012 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde at the National Sports Stadium next Sunday.

The Belgian gaffer was appointed senior national soccer team head coach last Friday, but he is still to sign a contract to allow him to get a work permit.

Work permits normally take six weeks to be processed and that could rule out Saintfiet from sitting on the bench against the Blue Sharks.

But the former Namibia coach thinks otherwise.
He said: “I’m still waiting for news from the president (Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president Cuthbert Dube).

“I have worked in several countries and never before have I had any problems getting a work permit.

“I don’t think there will be any problem at all.
“I will be meeting the president (Dube) tomorrow (today) to iron out outstanding issues.

“I hope everything will work out well.”

In the absence of Saintfiet in the dugout, former caretaker coach Norman Mapeza is likely to lead the team together with fellow assistant Madinda Ndlovu.

Zifa board member for competitions Benedict Moyo two weeks ago said Mapeza would become Saintfiet’s understudy and take over when the Belgian’s tenure expires.

But there are certain board members within Zifa who don’t want the former Warriors captain to be the Belgian’s student because he lacked qualifications set out by the Zifa technical committee led by retired referee Kenny Marange.

Mapeza produced an impressive 1-1 draw against Liberia in Monrovia in the opening match and other Zifa board members felt that he should have been given the chance to complete this campaign, but fell short in terms of qualifications.

At one time, the issue threatened to divide the board with certain board members arguing that the sub-committee’s resolution to appoint the Belgian was supposed to stand.

Saintfiet has named a 29-man squad for the game, but has already seen Mamelodi Sundowns captain Esrom Nyandoro pulling out due to personal commitments while Ovidy Karuru, Dickson Choto and Energy Murambadoro have been ruled out because of injuries.

Nyandoro was dropped by then caretaker coach Mapeza for the last match against Liberia on the basis that at 30, he was “too old”.

The Warriors’ next opponents, Cape Verde, hailing from an island situated off the West Coast of Africa, have never qualified for Afcon but stunned African giants Mali 1-0 in Praia.

Their national football team is known as “Tubarões Azuis” (Blue Sharks) or “Crioulos” (Creoles).

They came close to qualifying for the Nations Cup in 2006, at one time lying second in a group behind South Africa.

The Blue Sharks won the Amilcar Cabral Cup once (2000) and the Lusophony Games once (2009).

Cape Verde coach Lúcio Antunes on Monday announced a 22-man squad for the match against Zimbabwe.

The Blue Sharks’ camp begins on Monday at the Academy of Sporting Capital in the capital of Portugal, Lisbon.

Some of the players include Victor Moreno of Deportivo la Coruña, Guy Ramos of FC Dordrecht in the Netherlands, Tony Varela who plays for RKC Waalwijk, Ryan Grace (Havre AC) and Edson Cruz Karr (CD Fátima).

The team is expected in Zimbabwe on October 7.

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