Surprise move at Tampines: Coach Akbar out, Raab in?
Tampines Rovers part ways with head coach just a month before new S.League season
Tampines Rovers have parted ways with head coach Akbar Nawas, just days after the team played an Asian Champions League qualifying match, and a month before the start of the new S.League season.
The New Paper understands the decision was delivered to Akbar earlier today (Jan 27).
Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra confirmed the news, saying: "(Akbar) has been looking at various options since the end of last season and he actually magnanimously agreed to help us with pre-season and continues to give input as he is familiar with the players.
"He is still a huge supporter of ours and wants success for the club.
"It was a mutual agreement and as I said we have been openly discussing our options with each other."
Akbar had been in charge of the Stags' first team for eight months, after taking over from V. Sundramoorthy last May following the latter's appointment as Singapore national football caretaker coach.
Akbar, who is a former youth national team coach, guided the Stags to runners-up finishes in the RHB Singapore Cup and S.League.
Three days ago, he led the Stags in a one-legged Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League qualifier in Manila against Global FC. Tampines lost 2-0.
TNP understands Akbar's assistant, Herman Zailani, will handle the team in the interim, until a new head coach is officially appointed.
Another surprise is the man touted to be Akbar's replacement: Former Courts Young Lions coach Juergen Raab.
TNP understands the 58-year-old German is in the running, although Krishna declined to reveal the identity of the incoming coach.
He expressed confidence his club's coaching structure, led by director of football excellence Jita Singh - the Malaysia Cup winning ex-national coach who returned to local football last September - would mean Akbar's departure will not create any instability.
"We operate with a coaching council methodology that means not any single individual directs the coaching or playing philosophy," said the Stags chairman.
"So if a gap arises, it is easier to fill with minimum disruption.
"We will disclose the name of the chosen coach at the appropriate time."
Raab joined the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in Oct 2014 as a fitness coach, and then worked with the Under-23 team.
He took over the reins of the Young Lions following the resignation of Aide Iskandar after the U-23 team's group stage exit at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in June 2015.
He left at the end of his contract, at the end of 2015.