Fandi must answer for poor results
The LionsXII have endured a frustrating year.
Malaysian Super League (MSL) champions last season, the Singapore side finished eighth out of 12 teams this term, and are now struggling in the Malaysia Cup with just one point after two home games.
Time after time, coach Fandi Ahmad has lamented his side's poor finishing, which he has often cited as the reason for the LionsXII's poor results.
Former Singapore captain and coach Seak Poh Leong, feels that the coach should also be responsible for the team's lack of goals.
And he feels that if the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) deems that results are important, then Fandi has to step down at the end of the season.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Seak said: "Fandi has been talking about his players missing chances all season, but then the coach has to be the one giving them confidence.
"The same excuse can't be made after every game. If every team had players who kept scoring, then we won't need coaches."
The former national coach (1987-88), who was also the FAS's director of coaching in 1985, said Fandi has to take full responsibility for the LionsXII's poor showing this season.
"Fundamentally, coaching is about results. So, Fandi must take responsibility," Seak said.
"Otherwise, FAS has to look at whether the team are playing well and performing as a unit. If it's a work in progress, then they have to decide if Fandi needs to be given time or not.
"The FAS must have a clear system and criteria on hiring and retaining coaches. Qualifications don't mean everything - is the coach improving or moulding the team?"
Seak, 62, who began his coaching career assisting former national trainer Trevor Hartley in 1979, said the absence of star names Shahril Ishak and Hariss Harun from this year's squad had hurt the team.
Both players left for Johor Darul Ta'zim at the end of last season.
Their omission, he said, makes it unfair to compare Fandi's record with that of previous coach V Sundramoorthy, who guided the LionsXII to second spot in the MSL in their inaugural season in 2012, and the title last season.
"I believe Shahril was a key player for the team last season, and I wonder how Sundram would have done without him," he said.
"Without Shahril and Hariss, it has also been difficult for the younger players to improve, because who is there to guide them on the pitch?
"To be fair, Fandi did have two good seasons as coach of SAFFC (2000 and 2002) when he won two S.League titles.
"Sometimes it's down to the team he has. There are also other issues he has to deal with, like player availability."
Before he took over as national coach, Seak spent 18 months working on a football coaching degree at the Cologne University of Physical Education, in Germany.
He believes such overseas stints - to Europe or Japan, for example - would benefit Singapore football as it focuses on developing not just players, but coaches as well.
"Coaches must gain as much experience and exposure as possible," he said.
"When I was taking care of coaches development at the FAS, we had data on each coach, to keep track of their development.
"But sending them for attachments abroad creates another issue, because who do you send?
"If we send Fandi or Sundram, what is the basis for that?
"We cannot simply focus on certain coaches just because they were top players back in the day."
If every team had players who kept scoring, then we won’t need coaches.
- Seak Poh Leong