FAS hands Sundram and Sablon 2-year extensions
FAS provisional council makes move to ensure continuity ahead of calling for election
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has announced that it has decided to extend the contracts of two of the top technical positions within the organisation - the national coach and the technical director.
In a press statement sent late last night, the FAS said both V Sundramoorthy and Belgian Michel Sablon will be offered two-year contracts to ensure that both elite football and youth development in the Republic continue to grow in the same vein.
While neither man has actually put pen to paper, the FAS appears to be making a move ahead of finally calling for the first democratic election of its leadership - delayed from last Friday - this weekend.
Sablon, who oversaw changes that produced Belgium's golden generation including the likes of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, has made inroads into the local football fraternity, starting with changes to school competitions. He has now been given the nod to continue his work.
"Since his arrival two years ago, Michel has been working relentlessly to further improve our footballing standards - with a key focus on three areas: grassroots, youth and coach education," said FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong, who will be running for the post of FAS president when the call for election comes.
"We have achieved good progress in these areas, including coach education and a revamp of youth competitions, among others... we are very pleased to have extended the contract of Michel - who is undoubtedly one of the best technical directors in the world - for the next two years... as he continues to strengthen the foundation of Singapore football and achieve further progress in the key components of our ecosystem."
Sundram was appointed as caretaker coach of the national team in May last year and, while the Lions were booted out in the group stages of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup last November, Lim has seen it fit to keep the former Singapore international in the job.
"Despite Sundram not achieving the target of a semi-final berth at the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2016, we believe he should be given another chance to prove himself," said Lim.
"We will support Sundram fully and we expect the Lions to secure a top-two placing in Group E of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 final-round qualifiers and qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 which will be held in the United Arab Emirates."
I am determined to lead our Lions to success during the AFC Asian Cup 2019 finalround qualifying campaign.V Sundramoorthy
Sundram brought some of his Lions together yesterday at the Geylang Lorong 12 pitch, and he was grateful for the opportunity to carry on the work on developing the national team.
"As a Singaporean, it's an honour to coach the national team and I am very happy to have extended my contract. I am determined to lead our Lions to success during the AFC Asian Cup 2019 final-round qualifying campaign," said Sundram.
The national team will face Bahrain on March 28 in Manama, in the opening fixture of a tough Group E which will also see Hariss Harun and Co face Turkmenistan and Taiwan in their bid to secure a spot at the 2019 Asian Cup Finals.
After group matches in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup - the second-tier regional club competition behind the AFC Champions League - players from Tampines Rovers and Home United will join Sundram and the rest of the Lions in training before they fly to the Middle East on March 20 ahead of the Asian Cup qualifier eight days later.