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Back in 2013, Tom Saintfiet was already using T&T as a reference to what so called smaller nations can achieve on the world football stage.

At the time, Saintfiet was the head coach of Malawi, trying to get them to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. And he mentioned T&T as one of the nations that a country like Malawi could emulate.

“The reason why I am in Malawi is because Malawi has potential. So if I was here for the bonus, I would have been very stupid, I would have signed somewhere else if wanted money. I have volunteered, I am here because I have a dream. I am 100 percent sure that Malawi is a country that can go to the World Cup,” Saintfiet said at the time in an article that was published on BBC.com.

He continued: “What Senegal and Togo did in the past, what T&T, Jamaica, North Korea did, a small football nation like Malawi can also do. Malawi can be there at the right moment and the right time. Now is the right time for Malawi.”

Damian Downey, a previous agent for Saintfiet sent an email to the TTFA inquiring about the Senior Team head coach job following the exit of Otto Pfister in 2011. Downey, at the time the managing director of Elite Football Management was also Pfister’s agent.

Saintfiet, a former head coach of Togo and ex-Technical Director of the Nigerian Football Federation, will begin his training sessions with the senior team next week ahead of Gold Cup playoff action against Suriname and Haiti on January 4 and 8 at the Ato Boldon Stadium.