FAS appoints Australian Palatsides as technical director
Melbourne City's ex-academy chief tasked with moulding future of S'pore football
He is the man behind the Melbourne City academy that produced the likes of Australia's rising star Daniel Arzani.
Now, Joseph Palatsides, 53, has been tasked with moulding the future of Singapore football.
The former head of academy at the A-League club was unveiled as the new technical director of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) at a media conference at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.
Palatsides, an Australian of Greek descent, will be continuing the work by Belgian Michel Sablon, who left his post last December after his appointment in April 2015.
Palatsides said: "I look forward to further building on the systems that are in place here and doing my best, with the help of the current staff, to elevate Singapore football."
Palatsides, who carved his playing career in Australia and Greece, joined Melbourne City as their National Youth League (NYL) coach in 2012 before guiding them to the NYL titles in 2015 and 2017.
He also established and headed the club's academy in 2016, and was the A-League team's assistant coach in 2017.
As head of academy, Palatsides nurtured the likes of Arzani, who played for Australia at last year's World Cup and was the tournament's youngest player at 19.
Several other players from the Melbourne City academy have also made it to the Australian youth team which have qualified for the Under-17 World Cup this November.
When asked of his impression of the Republic, Palatsides said: "I call Singapore a 'sleeping giant' because there's a lot more potential in Singapore football.
"The culture here is of excellence. You (see) a small nation and what it's done as a global financial powerhouse - the airline as one of the best, if not the best and world-class. This culture of excellence needs to be translated to football as well."
Sablon, who left the FAS three months before his contract ended, had said he was unsatisfied with the slow progress.
In an interview with the Straits Times just before he left, the 71-year-old said "the culture here" means it will take more time before efforts bear fruit. He mentioned trying to get players in national service to train more regularly.
But Palatsides said he is aware of the issues.
"I've been briefed by the coaches and the (FAS) Council on what to expect, so I'm already quite well-informed. There's always going to be issues, but I look forward to making it better," he said.
FAS president Lim Kia Tong said Palatsides emerged from among the candidates due to his "hands-on" philosophy.
"A technical director should not be someone who (just) sits in the office and draws up a plan," he said.
"We are lucky to have Palatsides who... also wants to be closely connected to the ground and get full pulse of the situation."
FAS staff coach Nazri Nasir, who was among those who met Palatsides in a briefing earlier yesterday, said he came across as "very approachable".
"I believe that he will do something for Singapore football," said Nazri. "From what he said about the AirMarine Cup, he's impressed with the team's playing style. That tells me that we are on the same frequency."
The AirMarine Cup was an invitational tournament in Malaysia in March, when caretaker national coach Nazri led the Lions to a 1-0 win over Malaysia and a 1-1 draw with Oman in the final, before losing on penalties.
Adding that Palatsides has a big task ahead, Nazri said: "It'll be tough for him to bring up the mindset and philosophy of what he had at Melbourne City.
"I hope whatever he has experienced there will help the coaches and, at the end of the day, the players."