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Malta football coach Tom Saintfiet dismissed

Coach mentioned as applicant for Cameroon job

Tom Saintfiet is still looking for his first win as Malta coach. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Tom Saintfiet is still looking for his first win as Malta coach. Photo: Jonathan Borg

The Malta Football Association said on Wednesday it had relieved Tom Saintfiet of his duties as national team coach.

It followed local and international media reports mentioning Mr Saintfiet as one of the candidates who applied for the post of coach of Cameroon.

The MFA said its officials met Mr Saintfiet to discuss the matter and to
request the necessary reassurances.

"Following a thorough analysis of the situation, a decision has been taken to relieve Mr Saintfiet of his duties as National Team Coach," the association said. His contract has been terminated. 

He was only appointed in October last year.

Earlier, Saintfiet had denied that he applied to take charge of the Cameroon national team.

Cameroon has been without a coach since Hugo Broos left last February. The 66-year old Dutch coach had led the Indomitable Lions to the African Cup of Nations crown in 2017.  

"I strongly deny that me or an agent on my behalf has applied for this vacancy," Saintfiet had told Times of Malta.

"I understand that it is not right and respectful to apply for another coaching position while you are still under contract with someone else.

"Moreover, it does not make sense that I leave my current position, given I was appointed just last October besides moving all my family on the Maltese islands as well." 

African record

Mr Saintfiet's name is familiar in African football, with the Belgian having managed several national sides including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Togo before heading to Malta.

"Given my track record in the African continent, my name could have been easily suggested to the Cameroon FA, however, it does not mean that I am interested in their position," the 45-year old added.

High-profile names such as that of Raymond Domenech, former France coach, Lothar Matthaus, winner of the 1990 World Cup, former France defender Willy Sagnol and Carlos Queiroz, who is set to guide Iran at this summer's World Cup, are all said to be part of the list of potential Cameroon coaches. 

Mr Saintfiet however was dismissive of the reports. 

"I've seen the list of the coaches that are linked with this position, including (Carlos) Queiroz who at the moment is coach of Iran and heading to the World Cup. I cannot imagine him leaving the post and sacrificing the chance to be involved in the competition to go and coach Cameroon," he said.  

"Moreover, in order to apply for such position, an applicant has to insert two important documents alongside the CV, which are the conduct for good behaviour and a medical document, and I am sure the Cameroon FA does not have them because they can be only sent by myself."

Coaches added without their knowledge

According to cameroon-info.net, Cameroon's Football Federation (Fecafoot) is aware that some applicants on the list to succeed Broos may not even be interested in the role. 

"We have to reassure ourselves that all the coaches in this list are interested in our position because we realised that there are some files which have been filed by agents, without letting know their clients, in this case the coaches," a Fecafoot spokesman was quoted as saying by the aforementioned portal. 

A BBC Sport journalist confirmed this to Times of Malta

"I've seen that those in charge have noted that some applicants are unaware of their applications," Oluwashina Okeleji said when contacted.

 

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