Sunday, December 17, 2017

Belgium's Saintfiet replaces Stephen Hart as T&T's men football coach

...Carolina Morace takes charge of women's team

Belgian Tom Saintfiet named T&T senior mens' national team coach. Photo: ESPNFC


TRINIDAD AND Tobago national men's and women's football teams had new senior head coaches appointed at a press conference held by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association in Port of Spain on Wednesday.

Belgium's Tom Saintfiet, who replaced the recently-fired Stephen Hart, was handed a two-year contract to lead the men national team while Carolina Morace of Italy took charge of the women's team.

With T&T currently engaged in the CONCACAF final round World Cup qualifying tournament and yet to pick up a point after two matches, Saintfiet's tenure as head coach may hinge on the team's performance in their next two outings against Panama on March 24 and Mexico on March 28.

TTFA president David John Williams said: "If he doesn't get the results we need in those two matches then he could find himself out of a job since we can kiss our World Cup bid goodbye if we don't get those results."

Saintfiet, 43, played football for Belgian outfit FC Boom from 1983 to 1997 before going into management at 24, making him the youngest manager in Belgian football. He has a number of coaching stints under his belt, having worked in Germany, Finland, Jordan, Qatar, Belgium and the Netherlands in addition to serving as head coach of Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Namibia, and more recently Togo and Bangladesh.

He said his immediate focus is to take T&T to the World Cup and its a job he will not try to do alone.

Morace comes with a decorated career, both as a former player and a coach.

Hear audio of the TTFA press conference where Belgian Tom Saintfiet introduces himself to the media and the country. Audio courtesy I95.5FM

The 52-year-old Italian is a former national striker who also represented a number of clubs in the women's Serie A. She was the top scorer in their domestic competition in the 1984–85 season, before going on to hold that distinction for 11 consecutive seasons (1987–88 to 1997–98).

After calling time on her playing career she took up a management portfolio at Lazio before going on to manage the Italian women's national team from 2000 to 2005, and the Canadian national women's team from 2009 to 2011.

Senior Womens' Head Coach Carolina Morace Photo: Alchetron.com

During her stint in charge of the Italian women's team she took them to two European Championships, while Canada's women team won the 2010 CONCACAF title as well as the Cyprus Cup in 2011 and 2011, and the 2010 Four Nations Tournament with her at the helm. She was also the first woman to be inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame, a distinction she picked up in 2014.

Morace holds a UEFA PRO License and is best known for being the first woman to coach a professional men's football team when she took the reins of Viterbese, an Italian Serie C1 outfit in 1999.

She was awarded a two-and-a-half-year contract, which runs until 2019, by the TTFA and in addition to her role as senior women's coach she will oversee educational development in the women's football programme.