Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
TOM Saintfiet will walk into the Guinness Book of Records for being the highest-paid football coach ever during his ill-fated romantic affiliation with ZIFA, five years ago, after his dance with the Warriors lasted just one day.
ZIFA confirmed last week that they had engaged FIFA to try and resolve their dispute with the nomadic Belgian gaffer, by agreeing a payment plan, for the $150 000 he earned after he was smuggled by the country’s football leadership into the Warriors’ coaching staff during the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers.
Saintfiet was in charge of the Warriors for just three hours, taking control of only two one-and-a-half hour training sessions, at the National Sports Stadium in October 2010, before he was deported for working here without a work permit.
He will now be paid a staggering $150 000 for that, his case once again highlighting one of the monumental blunders made by ZIFA under the leadership of Cuthbert Dube, and the country’s football leadership — already reeling from the Valinhos fallout — revealed they had engaged FIFA to try and resolve the Belgian gaffer’s case.
This followed the panic mode that gripped the ZIFA secretariat amid intense media criticism that chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, had sat on the cases involving the coaches until they exploded with the Valinhos’ case forcing FIFA to expel Zimbabwe from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
ZIFA spokesman, Xolisani Gwesela, told our sister newspaper, The Sunday Mail, that they wrote to FIFA last Monday requesting, among other things, Saintfiet’s contract details and the approval of a proposed payment plan.
Valerie Horyna, the deputy secretary to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, confirmed, in response sent to ZIFA last Wednesday, that the Zurich-based organisation were in the process of lining up disciplinary proceedings against the local football governing body in a matter related to Saintfiet.
However, Horyna said those disciplinary proceedings could be halted in the event that a deal is struck between ZIFA and Saintfiet.
“As a consequence, a possible payment plan has to be agreed upon directly with the creditor, in the present case, the coach Mr Tom J M Saintfiet, which at his own discretion can accept or not the payment plan proposed,” wrote Horyna.
“Should a payment plan be agreed between and signed by both parties concerned, the present disciplinary proceedings will be suspended.”
This letter confirmed our warning last week that the resolution of the Valinhos case might not end ZIFA’s challenges with FIFA, when it comes to the country’s expulsion from the 2018 World Cup, as a number of explosive cases, which have been ignored by the association’s secretariat in the past few years, could still explode with similar consequences.
Saintfiet, who was hired by Dube and his board in 2010, was originally claiming $451 086,46 and is being represented by Spanish lawyers Ruiz, Huerta and Crespo.
This means the Belgian coach, who has since coached in Jordan, Malawi, Ethiopia and South Africa, will effectively be the highest paid coach ever, in the history of world football, when one takes into consideration that his $150 000 payment will be just for the three hours’ work he conducted in October 2010.
It means that Saintfiet earned a staggering $150 000, per each of the two sessions that he held with the Warriors on the only day he took charge of the team, and a whooping $50 000 per every hour that he handled the team.
That translates to a cool $833,33 a minute that he was shouting instructions to the Warriors in the company of his assistant coaches, Norman Mapeza and Madinda Ndlovu, and the goalkeepers’ coach that he brought along, Luitz Pfannetsiel.
Mapeza, interestingly, has a pending case with ZIFA over his unpaid dues.
Saintfiet’s mega earnings will translate to $13,88 per second during his day-long dance with the Warriors if we divide his earnings per hour, as is standard procedure in a lot of countries around the world.
That makes the Belgian gaffer the highest paid coach ever.
Pep Guardiola, the Spaniard who is in charge of German giants, Bayern Munich, is the highest-paid coach in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
Guardiola earns a salary of $24 million a year and that would translate to about $2 739 per hour, which pales into comparison when compared to the $50 000, every hour, which Saintfiet will get for his three-hour romance with the Warriors five years ago.
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho is the second highest-paid coach in the world, according to Forbes, with a salary of $17 million a year, and that would translate to about $1 940 per hour, which means that Saintfiet earned 25 times more, per hour, during his three-hour fling with the Warriors.
Russia coach Fabio Capello is the fourth highest-paid coach in the world and his earnings, per hour, of about $1 484, cannot be compared to the mega earnings which Saintfiet is set to pick for his three-hour dance with the Warriors five years ago.