Saintfiet out as Malawi coach after loss to Nigeria

Belgian Tom Saintfiet position as Malawi national football team coach is untenable following his side’s 0-2 loss to Nigeria at UJ Usuene Stadium in Calabar in a 2014 World Cup qualifying game on Saturday.

Saintfiet whose appointment was ratified on July 2 by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) explained that he had an “agreement till midnight on Saturday” with FAM.

The Belgian also revealed that his objective was to help qualify Malawi for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil, a feat he failed to achieve.

Saintfeit: Game over!
Saintfeit: Game over!

“I don’t feel any pressure because (the Football Association of Malawi) had an agreement till midnight on Saturday.”

“From Sunday morning, I have no agreement with [FAM]  and that was clear so I am a professional coach and my future? That we will see in the coming weeks but I am not worried about that,” he said.

Sientfiet said that in spite of the loss to Nigeria, his players did well and deserved to be praised.

“Actually as a coach, I came here to win the match but Nigeria carried the day afterwards. I wish Nigeria well in the final qualifying matches and  pray that they qualify for the World Cup,’’ he said.

Saintfiet slammed the referee’s decision to award the Super Eagles a penalty in the 52nd minute, although he admits that the first goal on the stroke of half time, was a psychological blow.

He said: “The penaly was soft. I’m 90% sure it was not a penalty. But for the red card, I would have given a red card myself.

“Conceding a goal with 30 seconds to half time killed us. Our plan was to go into half time at 0-0. That would have made Nigeria nervous.”

The 40-year-old Saintfiet, who has coached in Africa with Namibia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, said he volunteered his services to Malawi for free.

FAM officials said the preference is for Eddie Ng’onamo to continue the role of the national coach  but they are ‘keeping an open mind’.

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