BELGIAN coach Tom Saintfiet, having just received the first tranche of what Zifa owes, is warming up to the new Zifa board and reckons the chances of the Warriors being kicked out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers are now very unlikely.
Saintfiet is owed US$180 000 by Zifa from his brief stint at the helm of the country’s flagship soccer team, and Fifa had written to the local football association warning that the Warriors would be kicked out of the Qatar World Cup qualifiers if the debt is not paid by January 4.
Zimbabwe were already ruled out of the 2018 qualifiersfor failing to pay US$60 000 in salary arrears to another former coach, Brazilian Jose Claudinei Valinhos.
Zifa have now moved to extinguish the debt and last week paid US$50 000 to Saintfiet, who is now Togo national team coach. He responded via e-mail, wishing Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa a merry Christmas and commending his commitment to football.
“I would like to give my appreciation to you for your handling of my case urgently since you took over the Zifa presidency,” wrote Saintfiet.
“This shows your devotion to your new post and I am convinced you will lead Zimbabwean football to greater heights.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Happy Christmas and a successful 2016,” concluded the Belgian.
Saintfiet had an ill-fated relationship with Zifa five years ago as his tenure lasted only one day after he was deported for breaching immigration regulations.
The Zifa board, then led by Cuthbert Dube, followed up his departure by appointing Norman Mapeza and Madinda Ndlovu as co-coaches, an ill-thought move that failed to pay dividends as the Warriors failed to qualify for Afcon 2012.
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