Saintfiet was ordered out of the country after starting his coaching duties without a work permit, leaving the Warriors preparations for the crucial African Cup of Nations qualifier against Cape Verde on Sunday at the National Sports Stadium in disarray.
Zifa had left it too late to file Saintfiet’s work permit application papers with the immigration department.
Impeccable sources at Zifa House told IndependentSport that the football association had approached Nkomo seeking his intervention.
The sources said Saintfeit would be expected back in the country before the Sunday match. It was not clear if he would be on the Warriors technical team bench.
“They (Zifa) have had to rope in Vice-President Nkomo to help them get the work permit early enough,” one of the sources said. “He (Nkomo) is the patron of Zifa and with the situation having gone out of hand, they have had to seek help from him to facilitate a special dispensation on the issuance of that permit. They are confident now that the coach will be in the country to commence work as the Warriors gaffer.”
The sources said the failure to secure the permit had also cost Zifa, as it was forced to hire a vehicle and driver to take Saintfeit to Botswana where he sought temporary sanctuary.
“He is staying in Botswana where Zifa is paying for his upkeep. They are paying the price of maladministration,” the source said. “The coach is waiting anxiously for the papers to be sorted out.”
Zifa board member for development Benedict Moyo, who of late has been speaking on behalf of the association, yesterday declined to comment on the latest development and referred questions to the association president Cuthbert Dube. Dube’s phone went unanswered.
Meanwhile, Sports minister David Coltart has castigated Zifa and the immigration department for throwing the Warriors’ preparations into chaos by failing to handle the Saintfeit’s saga professionally.
In an interview with IndependentSport on Wednesday, Coltart said Zifa and the immigration department had failed to put national interest.
“Our laws must be complied with, but it concerns me that there is no spirit of co-operation between the two organisations,” said Coltart. “We would expect them to act in the national interest and do everything within their powers to make sure that the team has the best preparations for such an important game.”
He said it was a great embarrassment for a Warriors coach to be ordered to leave the country on the eve of a crucial match because he does not have a work permit.
“I implore all those involved, Zifa, the Sports and Recreation Commission and the immigration department to act quickly to resolve this situation,” Coltart said. “I will be highly irritated if this episode results in our team failing to win on Sunday.”