Globetrotter Saintfiet unveiled as new Philippine men’s football coach

February 27, 2024 - 9:29 AM
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Tom Saintfiet
Tom Saintfet in this photo posted on his Instagram on Feb. 26, 2024 (tomsaintfiet/Facebook)

Belgian Tom Saintfiet’s odyssey around the football world continues after he was unveiled as coach of the Philippines on Monday, his 11th national team appointment in a career that has taken in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

Saintfiet, 50, resigned in January after a successful five-and-a-half years with Gambia, leading the tiny west African nation to consecutive Africa Cup of Nations finals, which included a quarter-final place in the 2021 tournament.

Since taking over Namibia in 2008, he has also coached Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Yemen, Malawi, Togo, Bangladesh, Trinidad and Tobago, and Malta. He took up the role with Gambia in 2018, before which they had not won a competitive match for five years.

“It is quite a lot,” Saintfiet told Reuters of his various national team roles. “With Gambia I recently reached my 100th official FIFA national team match, so I am looking forward to this next step.”

He is some way off the record for most national team jobs, which is held by the German Rudi Gutendorf, who led 18 countries at various points, not including the Olympic teams of Iran (1988) and China (1992).

Gutendorf died aged 93 in 2019 having coached 55 teams in 32 countries, including numerous roles with club sides, a career that earned him a place in the Guinness World Records.

— Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge