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Saintfiet deported


Warriors coach Tom Saintfiet left the country on Tuesday night after being served with deportation papers by Zifa acting chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze.

This was after the national association had been advised that Sainfiet had breached the immigration regulations by operating in the country without a work permit.

Mashingaidze, who was not picking up his phone last night, served the papers on the Belgian at the National Sports Stadium on Tuesday when he was conducting a training session with his assistants Norman Mapeza and Madinda Ndlovu.

A source at Zifa last Tuesday said: “He is gone, probably through South Africa. But we are still working on his papers.

There is a lot that is happening here and really there is something wrong somewhere.”

Last week, Zifa president Cuthberth Dube said he was personally handling the work permit issue for Saintfiet, but no result had been achieved on Tuesday, leading to his eventual deportation. NewsDay had reported also last week, that there was an ‘underground movement’ that was bent on making sure that Saintfiet does not get his permit in a bid to install Mapeza as the head coach.
For now, that movement has won the battle.

Mapeza and Ndlovu will now take charge of the game unless something dramatic happens between Wednesday and Sunday.

Meanwhile Dube had gagged Saintfiet from speaking to the press for unexplained reasons.

Dube isssued the order on Tuesday ahead of the team’s 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Cape Verde at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

The Belgian coach was expected to address a media briefing at a Harare hotel on Tuesday afternoon but Saintfiet recoiled saying he had not received the green light from Zifa adding that Zifa board member for competitions Benedict Moyo had instructed him to do so.

“At the moment I have been given a red light and I can’t say anything.

I apologise for that,” said the former Namibia coach to the army of journalists who had come for the press conference.

The Belgian left the stunned journalists at the hotel foyer before he called all the players for a closed-door technical meeting.
Contacted for comment Moyo said he was “unaware” of Saintfiet’s media briefing.

He said: “The president (Dube) told me that he was supposed to attend the same briefing but cancelled it for reasons he shall explain.

I was personally not aware that Saintfiet would address journalists. We apologise for the confusion.”

Sources on Tuesday said the 37- year-old coach was stopped from addressing the media because he is still to obtain a work permit.

According to reports, the Belgian risked being deported if he continued to work without one.

Saintfiet had been quoted as saying he would get his papers ahead of the match since Valinhos (former coach) got his in two days.

Technically, he was supposed to apply for a work permit while outside the country and wait for six weeks.

But Saintfiet had carried on with his normal duties on Tuesday after he conducted the morning and afternoon training sessions without any interruptions.

The Warriors’ preparations received a major boost after the arrival of all the Europe-based players including Blackburn Rovers striker Benjani Mwaruwari and Sudan-based attacker Edward Sadomba.

Mwaruwari sat out yesterday’s afternoon training due to a hamstring problem.

The other players who arrived in the country from Europe on Tuesday were Clemence Matawu (Polonia Bytom- Poland), Costa Nhamoinesu (Zaglebie Lubin – Poland), Onismor Bhasera (Plymouth Argyle – England), Obadiah Tarumbwa (Enosis – Cyprus), Quincy Antipas (Sonderjyske – Denmark), Justice Majabvi (LASK Linz – Austria), Noel Kaseke (Omonia Nicosia – Cyprus) and Vusa Nyoni (Germinal Beerschot – Belgium).

Cyprus-based Kaseke and Tarumbwa were the last to join camp. Shariff Mussa, the Warriors team manager, said he was overwhelmed by the Warriors’ response to play for their country.

“All the Europe-based players joined camp on Tuesday as you can see. The turn-up is very good because all the South Africa-based players were already in camp by Monday morning.

“The players are very serious about this match and they want to leave no stone unturned for victory against Cape Verde.

They are taking Cape Verde seriously because they beat Mali 1-0 in their opening match,” said Mussa.

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