Team Singapore

Aide could guide U-23s in Korea

The ticket to Incheon has been secured, and the goal now is to find the coach to lead the football team at the Asian Games, which will be held in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19 to Oct 4.

Last week, national coach Bernd Stange led a 19-strong squad made up of Under-23 players and three overaged stars to Manama, Bahrain, where they beat the hosts 3-2 in a friendly match.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) had hoped to use the result to convince the SNOC selectors to give them the green light to compete in Korea next month.

With the FAS viewing the Asiad as an important step in the U-23s' quest for Singapore's gold medal in football at next June's South-east Asia Games, which will be held on home soil, Courts Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar is thought to be in the running for the coaching job for the Asian Games.

Last month, former national skipper Aide was with the U-23s for a little over half of their 17-day training camp in Salzburg, Austria, returning home a week before the team due to family commitments.

While the LionsXII are currently involved in the Malaysia Cup, coach Fandi Ahmad could also get the nod for the Asian Games.

The Asian Games football competition will kick off earlier, on Sept 14, and end on Oct 3.

The Malaysia Cup opening group stage ends on Sept 3, with the knockout rounds starting on Oct 3.

Stange (photo), who was at Jalan Besar Stadium last night to watch the LionsXII draw 0-0 with Felda United in their opening Malaysia Cup match, declined to shed any light on the issue.

"We had a clear plan for both (eventualities), if we manage to go or if we don't," the German told The New Paper. "Now, we go with Option 1. We will sit down tomorrow and discuss all the necessary steps to take."

He did, however, confirm that he will be with the team in Incheon regardless of who the FAS appoints as the U-23s' head coach.

When asked if he would travel, Stange, 66, said: "Of course.

"I am the national teams coach. It is my job." - SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ