Singapore Football

Lions to get new national coach by June: FAS

The suspense over the identity of the new national football coach will linger for another three months, after the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said yesterday that the search will drag on until June.

FAS general secretary Yazeen Buhari said: "We are at the tail end of the process. And we should be appointing one (national coach) before the next competition window (official Fifa match dates) in June."

The Lions have been without a coach since exiting the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in the group stage last December. Then, FAS head of youth Fandi Ahmad led the team for six months.

Japanese Tatsuma Yoshida, 44, a former S-League player with Jurong FC and an ex-coach of J-League clubs Kashiwa Reysol and Albirex Niigata, has been mentioned as a possible front-runner for the hot seat.

Yesterday, it was announced that former national captain Nazri Nasir will lead the Lions at the AirMarine Cup in Kuala Lumpur's Bukit Jalil Stadium on March 20 and 23.

The other teams in the quadrangular are hosts Malaysia, Afghanistan and Oman.

The Lions will meet the Tigers on March 20, while Oman play Afghanistan on the same day. The winners will contest the final three days later, while the losers will play in the third-placing match.

FAS vice-president Teo Hock Seng, who will be the head of the delegation for the Cup, added: "This is a great opportunity for Singapore football.

"Malaysia did pretty well in the Suzuki Cup (they lost 3-2 on aggregate to Vietnam in the two-legged final), but I don't think we are too far away from them. I will be going up to ensure that we will play to win."

Calling the appointment "a privilege and honour", Nazri, 48, said: "It will be do or die, there are no friendlies against Malaysia.

"I am looking at a very attacking team. We want players who have pace, aggression and are explosive. I want to see midfielders coming into the box, taking on players and shooting from outside the box.

"We are all ready to go."

Nazri has opted for a youthful squad of 22 and decided not to call up 35-year-old veterans Shahril Ishak (138 caps) and Baihakki Khaizan (134 caps), although he did not rule them out for future selection. Goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, 34, is injured.


LIONS' SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS: Izwan Mahbud (Nongbua Pitchaya), Syazwan Buhari (Tampines), Zaiful Nizam (Balestier)

DEFENDERS: Amirul Adli, Irwan Shah (both Tampines), Emmeric Ong (Warriors), Faritz Hameed (Home), Nazrul Nazari (Hougang), Safuwan Baharudin (Pahang), Shakir Hamzah (Kedah)

MIDFIELDERS: Izzdin Shafiq (Home), Zulfahmi Arifin, M. Anumanthan (both Hougang), Hariss Harun (Johor Darul Ta'zim), Huzaifah Aziz (Balestier), Shahdan Sulaiman, Yasir Hanapi (both Tampines)

FORWARDS: Faris Ramli, Iqbal Hussain (both Hougang), Gabriel Quak (Warriors), Khairul Amri (Tampines), Khairul Nizam (Warriors)

Singapore Football