Zifa laments Saintfiet permit delay

ZIFA is lamenting the delays by the immigration department in giving a response to the latest application for a work permit by Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet as they look to settle the Warriors technical team appointments before year end.

Acting on advice from Fifa, Zifa, on behalf of Saintfiet, made an appeal to the immigration department after the coach was denied a work permit in October.

The Fifa delegation that was in Zimbabwe last month advised Zifa to appeal and exhaust all avenues in trying to solve the issue with the local body having given up on the idea of appointing a foreign coach.

But the appeal which was made more than two weeks ago is yet to receive a response with Warriors’ fixtures fast approaching.

Zifa Lawyer Ralph Maganga told IndependentSport that having inquired about the application at the immigration department he was only told that the matter was being considered.

“I phoned them on Tuesday and they told me that the matter was being attended to,” said Maganga. “They will not commit on the dates that they will issue a response but the rules state that a response should be given within 72 hours. There is nothing we can do at the moment except to wait until they advise us on their position. The problem now is that there are games coming up and whoever takes charge will need time to look at the players so they should have started preparing by now.”

Zimbabwe will participate at the Chan tournament next month and also play friendly internationals lined up ahead of the crucial African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Mali.

The Zifa board has since come up with “Plan B” in the likely event that Saintfiet’s application is not successful again.

Former Caps United coach Charles Mhlauri is hotly tipped for a second spell with the Warriors as he is a favourite with most board members.

If that option fails Rahman Gumbo is favourite for a second shot at the top coaching job, while Ian Gorowa is another prospect.

While the board members have agreed on “Plan B”, they cannot at this stage talk to the three coaches until the Saintfiet issue has been settled.

Zifa had resolved to dump Saintfiet and hire a local coach but Fifa advised them to make an appeal to the immigration department.

Pointers are that Zifa board members are already looking beyond Saintfiet and have already settled on luring one of the three coaches back home.

They are going to offer whoever they agree a deal with a handsome package, similar to that of Saintfiet. Saintfiet had signed a US$8 000 per month contract, excluding allowances.

 

Kevin Mapasure

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