Saintfiet clarifies 'Namibia good luck' message
Saintfiet misrepresented by media
In a personal letter to Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Aminu Maigari, Saintfiet said the media have misrepresented his goodwill message to Namibia to mean they should beat Nigeria on Sunday in Calabar.
“I am referring to reports that stated that I wrote to Namibia, wishing them luck in their games. I also want to refer to the way it was misconstrued into meaning I was wishing Namibia luck against my new employers – Nigeria,” the Belgian coach wrote Maigari.
“Mr President, I wish to state that it was a misrepresentation of facts, and that I never intended it like that. I was acting in the spirit of fair play – where, even in FIFA, we are encouraged to shake hands with our opponents and wish each other luck.
“I sent emails to all my contacts in Africa – in Guinea, in Algeria, in Ethiopia, in Zambia, in Malawi, etc – as I always do, to wish them the best of luck. It is only in the interest of fair play.
“There is no way I will wish anyone can beat Nigeria. I already have a job as technical director of Nigeria. If anyone beats Nigeria, even without me having assumed duty, it is still a failure for me as well.”
Saintfiet added: “It is my dream to attend the World Cup in Brazil as the technical director, and a part of the Nigerian delegation to the World Cup.
“I want to help us qualify for Brazil 2014. Losing to Namibia will not help us in that drive, so I can never wish for Namibia to beat us.
“I am committed to this job, and I really believe in the country, Nigeria, as well as the talent that is there to take us to Brazil 2014 and to do well in that competition.”
The former Namibia and Ethiopia coach was recently appointed Nigeria technical director amid resistance from local coaches as well as the country’s sports ministry.
He has yet to resume work because he has yet to get a work permit.