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Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Wednesday, 6 October 2010 11:34 UK

New coach Tom Saintfiet has been forced out of Zimbabwe

By Steve Vickers
BBC Sport, Harare

Tom Saintfiet
Saintfiet is set to miss Sunday's home clash with Group A leaders Cape Verde

New national coach Tom Saintfiet has been forced out of Zimbabwe following orders from the country's immigration authorities.

The Belgian contravened immigration laws by conducting national training sessions without a work permit, ahead of Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Cape Verde.

After being advised to leave, Saintfiet was unable to catch the last flight from Harare to South Africa on Tuesday and was forced to drive through the night to Botswana instead.

"I'm a little bit shocked at the situation," Saintfiet told BBC Sport from the Zimbabwe-Botswana border early on Wednesday morning.

"I came to help the country and left a secure job with Namibia for a bigger task.

"I was satisfied with our preparations for Sunday's game."

Zimbabwe's immigration authorities said that Saintfiet must be out of the country while his work permit is processed.

"We have ordered him to leave the country while his application for a work permit is being processed," Evans Siziba, a senior immigration official, told the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

The newspaper added that Saintfiet was served with his deportation papers during a training session with the team.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) submitted an application for Saintfiet's work permit late on Tuesday but it is unlikely the Belgian will be on the bench for Sunday's match in Harare.

The expulsion further sullies an appointment that has already caused much controversy.

Saintfiet signed a four-year contract last Friday to become Warriors coach despite being midway through a deal with Namibia as well as little-fancied for the job.

Both the Zifa chairman and the media had been vocal in their support of former Warriors captain Norman Mapeza, who was recently working as caretaker coach.

Mapeza, a former Zimbabwe captain, now has another chance to impress as he looks set to lead Zimbabwe on Sunday along with Madinda Ndlovu, another former international.

Meanwhile, Namibian football authorities are still mulling the prospect of legal action against Zimbabwe for luring their coach without seeking authorisation.

The Southern Africans are in Group A of 2012 Nations Cup qualifying along with Mali, Cape Verde and Liberia.

Last month they ground out a 1-1 draw against Liberia in their first outing - so trailing Cape Verde by two points after the islanders stunned Mali with a 1-0 home win.

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see also
Namibia contest Zimbabwe coach
27 Sep 10 |  African
Saintfiet named as Zimbabwe coach
25 Sep 10 |  African
Namibia coach in Zimbabwe job row
22 Sep 10 |  African
2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers
10 Apr 10 |  African

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