* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only. † Appearances (Goals).
Tom Saintfiet (born 29 March 1973 in Mol, Belgium) is a Belgian association football manager and former player. He played football between 1983 to 1997 (FC Boom) before becoming a football manager at the age of 24, becoming the youngest manager in Belgian football.
Saintfiet started very successfully with Namibia by beating Comoros and Malawi and playing a draw against Lesotho in the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup in South Africa in July 2008. Namibia were eliminated from the Quarter Final at the hands of subsequent winner and host South Africa. Saintfiet's achievements included defeating Zimbabwe 4-2 in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier and Congo DR 4-0 in a friendly. Three days after drawing 1-1 away to Lebanon on April 2009, Namibia once again got an impressive result with a 0-0 draw away to Angola. Arguably his most satisfying result came in Durban, when Namibia drew 1-1 with South Africa after leading for much of the game. Namibia had only won 1 game out of 12 in the months before Saintfiet's arrival. Under Saintfiet's leadership, Namibia rose 34 places in the FIFA rankings to the highest position they had achieved in the last 10 years. After these performances, the Namibian press nicknamed Saintfiet "The Saint" and one even newspaper called him "The Messiah"
After being heavily linked with the job, Sainfiet emerged successful through a shortlist of 15 candidates and signed a 4-year contract with ZIFA on 1 October 2010. In November, Zimbabwean immigration authorities refused to issue a work permit to the Warriors coach and Saintfiet was deported. The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has appealed the decision taken by the department of immigration to turn down Saintfiet's work permit application for national team coach and a decision will be announced shortly. On 10 October, Zimbabwe played Cape Verde in Harare in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match, the game resulted in a 1-1 draw. Sainfiet had trained the squad prior to the match although he was made to leave the camp due to the issues regarding work permits. From his base in Namibia, Saintfiet, put in place the tactics and selected the National team squad that beat Mozambique 3-1 in the following match. After being refused a work permit by the immigration department for a second time, Saintfiet was forced to leave his role as Senior Men's National Head Coach of Zimbabwe in October 2010.
In late December 2010, Saintfiet signed a 4 Month contract with 2007 AFC Cup winners, Shabab Al Ordon. Again working wonders with his defence organisation, his team only conceded one goal in their first five matches with Saintfiet in charge.
Saintfiet was named Head Coach of Ethiopia in late May 2011. Within 10 days of taking over, Saintfiet guided Ethiopia, composed of local players, to a 2-2 draw against African giants Nigeria in the 2012 AFCON qualifiers. In a full Addis Ababa Stadium, fans watched Ethiopia take the lead for most of the game, only for Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo to score late on to rescue a point. Saintfiet voluntarily resigned his position as Head coach on 28 October 2011.
In March 2012, Saintfiet was appointed as the technical director of Nigeria by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). However, the Nigerian ministry of sports hinted three months later that there were many competent Nigerians and preferred a Nigerian instead of a foreign technical director.
In July 2012, Saintfiet took charge of Tanzania club Young Africans SC. Saintfiet immediately guided the club to win the 2012 CECAFA Club Cup/Kagame Interclub Cup, the first time the club had won this Champions League of East and Central Africa title in consecutive years. He was however let go in September after two league games after a disagreement with the club board