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Saintfiet shocker!


Tom Saintfiet, the Belgian hired to be the Warriors coach by the cash-strapped Zifa Board, will gross $12 800 a month, NewsDay can reveal today.

Documents seen by NewsDay and signed by Zifa president Cuthbert Dube show that the Belgian, holed up in Botswana after failing to secure a work permit, would gross up to $14 400 per month, if allowances of $1 600 are added.

Saintfiet was given a four-year contract, bringing the total to $153 600 per year minus bonuses, medical aid, housing, transport and other allowances.

For four years, Saintfiet will get $614 400, excluding all other allowances related to his contract.

In the event that Saintfiet fails to get his work permit, as Dube is seemingly under pressure from elsewhere to appoint Norman Mapeza as head coach,he (Saintfiet), armed with a copy of his contract, can approach the world soccer governing body Fifa to get his money, unless some sort of settlement is reached.

Fifa provides $250 000 in annual grants for each national association and the amounts due to Saintfiet mean Zimbabwe will miss those grants for almost three years, which will be a major catastrophe to the national association and the development of national football.

With Zifa saying they have no money, it leaves Zimbabweans to wonder how the board expected to pay these huge amounts.

Dube wrote a support letter to Charles Nhemachena, the Sports and Recreation Commission director-general, on October 5 for the acquisition of a temporary employment and resident’s permit, copied to Zifa acting chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze and all 13 board members.

The letter was written on the same day when Saintfiet was served with deportation papers during a training session at the National Sports Stadium.

Despite Dube’s stated desire that he wanted Mapeza to be the head coach, the letter simply proves he was in agreement with the rest of the board members on the appointment of Saintfiet.

In the same letter Dube clearly states that local coaches do not have the qualifications that Saintfiet has.

“The board, upon getting (a) technical report from the national team selection committee, settled for (Mr) Tom Saintfiet, whose resumé fitted well without our expectations.

“(Mr) Saintfiet is a holder of Uefa B Licence and Diploma in Football, qualifications which the local coaches do not have.

The head coach, who will be on a four-year contract, was offered and he duly agreed to receive the following earnings: Gross salary $12 800.”

He also included his payslip.

Nhemachena confirmed receipt of the letter on Thursday night:

“I am not sure of the date, but yes, we did receive the letter and we did respond asking for further details and justification and they also responded.

“There is communication now between the Minister (of Education, Arts, Sports and Culture, David Coltart), and my chairman (Joseph James, SRC chairman) who resolved to write a letter of support to the Ministers of Home Affairs to assist.”

The appointment of Saintfiet has landed Dube in murky waters with the Namibians with whom Saintfiet had a two-year contract.

The development also came a few days after Zifa board member for competitions Benedict Moyo and vice-president Ndumiso Gumede were quizzed by police in connection with the appointment of Saintfiet.

Moyo was interrogated by one Inspector Chikwandi last Saturday on how Zifa employed the Belgian and let him commence work without proper documentation.

According to the laws of the country, foreigners have to get work permits before they assume their duties.

Saintfiet is believed to have left the country on the same night by road for Botswana where he is reportedly staying at a four-star hotel which is charging $200 per day.

It would appear the idea of hiring Saintfiet straight under the nose of the Namibia Football Association soured diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Dube refuted reports in the media that he was the complainant in the case where Dube and Moyo were questioned.

The latest developments, where the government or an arm of the government is seen to be interfering the running of the game, could attract the wrath of Fifa and lead to Zimbabwe’s ban from all international competitions.

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