Fandi and Sundram to pick next national squad, but still no decision on coach
Fandi and Sundram shortlist names for next Lions squad, but neither appointed as interim coach
A new Lions team are being formed, but there is still no coach at the helm.
The New Paper understands that local football icons Fandi Ahmad and V Sundramoorthy have met and drawn up a shortlist of 30 names for the next national squad, which will play in a friendly quadrangular in Myanmar in June.
Fandi, 53, and Sundram, 50, are fans' favourites to helm the Lions, who are currently without a coach following the departure of Bernd Stange after almost three years in charge.
The two celebrated former players regularly assisted the German on international assignments over the last 16 months.
While tasked by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to help assemble a squad for the Myanmar quadrangular, neither has been appointed as the interim national coach.
In response to queries, an FAS spokesman said: "Our coaches have been constantly monitoring all eligible players playing in the S.League and overseas for the national team.
"We are also working closely with our strategic partner MP & Silva to develop a calendar of international football competitions, and we will share more information when details are confirmed."
Fandi is currently a staff coach with the FAS.
He coached the LionsXII team that competed in Malaysian domestic football competitions, in 2014 and 2015, winning the Malaysian FA Cup in the second year, before the Football Association of Malaysia unilaterally decided not to extend the franchise's participation from this year on.
The former national skipper has a contract with the FAS until November, but was reportedly on his way out of the association after the FAS was unable to find a role for him following the disbandment of the LionsXII.
Fandi declined comment yesterday, but has been carrying out his regular duties of scouting players and paying visits to clubs, as well as submitting S.League match reports to the FAS National Teams department.
He also travels regularly to Malaysia to watch Singapore internationals Hariss Harun, Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak and Safuwan Baharudin play for their respective Malaysian clubs.
Sundram, meanwhile, is in charge of Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League giants Tampines Rovers.
The man known as "The Dazzler" during his playing days famously led the LionsXII to the Malaysian Super League title in 2013, before moving to second-tier Malaysian outfit Negeri Sembilan the following season.
He left Negeri after a year, following the club's failure to earn promotion, and took charge of Tampines in 2015.
Sundram, too, declined to comment on being linked to lead the national team in the interim.
But he has made no secret of his desire to coach the Lions.
After winning the MSL title, he called the role the "ultimate test" and just last month, said in a radio interview that it is his "dream is to be national coach one day".
The quadrangular in Myanmar will take place from June 3 to 5, and will also feature Hong Kong and Vietnam.
The Lions are likely to report on May 28, after the preliminary round RHB Singapore Cup matches.
They play the hosts on June 3, before facing one of the two other participating teams, in either the third-place or final match two days later.
The tournament is part of the Lions' ongoing preparations for the year-end AFF Suzuki Cup, co-hosted by Myanmar and the Philippines.
Singapore are record joint four-time champions, along with Thailand, but their last triumph in the biennial competition was in 2012.
Stange told TNP before he left that the national team could head to Austria for a training camp to prepare for the Suzuki Cup but, with him no longer around, it is unclear if the plans remain in place.
Said the FAS spokesman: "As per our standard practice, the National Teams department will discuss its yearly plans prior to the start of each season.
"During the course of the season, we may make slight amendments to our plans if there are changes to the competitions and international matches."