Fandi or Sundram could lead Lions on interim basis
Fandi or Sundram could be appointed interim national coach by month end
The chances of either Fandi Ahmad or V Sundramoorthy taking the reins of the national team have just gone up.
The New Paper understands that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) will meet the two local football icons separately over the next two days to talk to them about the vacant national coach position.
The Lions have been without a chief tamer since the departure of Bernd Stange two weeks ago. The German was in charge for almost three years.
TNP reported on April 24 that the FAS had approached both Fandi, 53, and Sundram, 50, and asked the two coaches to draw up a shortlist of 30 names for the next national squad, which will play in a friendly quadrangular in Myanmar from June 3 to 5.
While the FAS had planned to appoint an experienced foreign coach to replace Stange, it is believed it has shifted its stance and the two former Lions stars are now in the running, after positive feedback from senior national team players.
However, it is believed the FAS is likely to offer Fandi or Sundram the national team job on an initial short-term basis, until 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.
In response to TNP's queries, an FAS spokesman said: "Like any forward-looking organisation, the FAS has in place a rigorous, comprehensive process to identify key appointment holders.
"We are at an advanced stage of the recruitment process, and expect to announce the appointment of the new coach by the end of May."
Fandi is currently a staff coach with the FAS, having previously coached the LionsXII team that competed in Malaysian domestic football competitions, in 2014 and 2015.
He led them to a Malaysian FA Cup triumph but the team were disbanded at the end of last year, after the Football Association of Malaysia decided not to extend the team's participation in its domestic tournaments.
Sundram, meanwhile, is in charge of S.League giants Tampines Rovers, who have the bulk of the disbanded LionsXII team on their books.
He also previously coached the LionsXII, in 2012 and 2013, guiding them to the Malaysian Super League crown in his second year.
Senior national players, who hope to redeem themselves after a disastrous Suzuki Cup outing in 2014 when the Lions crashed out of the group stages on home soil, backed both local greats for the job.
Midfielder Hariss Harun told TNP yesterday: "The Suzuki Cup is our immediate concern.
"We did not have a good showing on home soil the last time out, and we have to put things right.
"To me, Fandi and Sundram are the two names that are able to get the best out of us for this Suzuki Cup.
"As a (tandem), or either one as head coach, I think that would be the best for us right now."
National captain Shahril Ishak said that it is better to appoint a local than a foreign coach.
SUZUKI CUP NEARING
"The Suzuki Cup is just six months away," said the 32-year-old.
"We don't want a new foreign coach who will reshuffle the pack, has to study us and learn what each player can do, introduces a new philosophy... That will just slow everything down.
"Fandi and Sundram have won things as players and coaches, they know what it takes to be successful with the national team.
"It's time for them to be given a chance."