Gambia national team coach, Tom Saintfiet resigned from his role, minutes after his team was knocked out of AFCON 2023. Despite a valiant effort against Cameroon, Gambia was defeated 3-2, finishing bottom of Group C without a point.

The 50-year-old Belgian revealed that his contract was set to expire in August 2026, but has opted to leave his position early after a difficult AFCON campaign.

"This was my last match as coach of Gambia. My contract expires in August 2026, but I step down,” . Thanks to the FA and my staff. I am forever a Gambian. My daughter is 7, and when I told her I’ll resign, she was not happy. But I believe this is the time.” Saintfiet said after the match

Gambia had qualified for their first-ever AFCON under Saintfiet in 2021, hosted by Cameroon, going on a remarkable run to the quarter-finals.  This remains his greatest achievement to date. Hopes were high heading into this year’s tournament, but three consecutive defeats saw them crash out.

Throughout his career, Saintfiet has taken charge of 10 national teams including Namibia, Ethiopia, Togo, Malawi, Zimbabwe and several others.

Despite a disappointing end, Saintfiet can look back fondly at his Gambia tenure. He gave the nation their first-ever taste of AFCON football and memorable victories over the likes of Tunisia. His departure represents the first managerial exit of this year’s AFCON competition. It remains to be seen if it will be the last.

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