Gambia become sixth African country to hire Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet

The 45-year-old Belgian lasted just two training sessions as Zimbabwe coach in 2010 before being deported for working without a permit

The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) has appointed the nomadic Tom Saintfiet as the senior national team coach on a nine-month contract.

Formerly with Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Malawi and Togo, the Gambia job is Saintfeit’s sixth coaching commitment with an African team inside 10 years.

During that period, it is the overall 14th job for the journeyman.

Saintfiet arrived in Gambia on Monday and is expected to be officially unveiled on Thursday before starting preparations for September's Afcon qualifier against Algeria at home.

His latest employment was with Malta who fired him in April over allegations that he had applied for the vacant Cameroon job.

“The executive committee of the Gambia Football Federation wishes to inform the general public that in consultation with the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports, the service of Mr Tom Saintfiet has been secured as the senior national team coach of the Gambia for a period of nine months,” GFF said in a statement.

“Meanwhile, GFF will pay the salary of the coach and other associated costs, while the Gambia government is trying to secure funding to take over its responsibilities and all other necessary costs related the coach and national teams.

“Mr Tom has a wide range of knowledge and experience in coaching national teams across the world, particularly in Africa. Given his vast knowledge and experience in coaching we trust that he will help advance all aspect of Gambian football during his reign.”

Other previous brief stints with the national teams of Trinidad and Tobago, Bangladesh and Yemen has cemented his record as a journeyman.

His stay with Namibia, which lasted for about two years, has been the longest spell of his coaching career.

After leaving his shortest spell as Zimbabwe coach, having taken charge of just two one-and-a half-hour training sessions, Saintfiet came back five years later to haunt his former employers whom he reported to Fifa for not paying his salary.

The Warriors were worried about their 2022 World Cup qualifiers and paid Saintfiet $50 000 as part of the reported $150 000 owed to him.