Nazri: Give me Young Lions job
Former national skipper says he is ready, Fandi looks set for full-time Lions role
The shock of being booted out of the Malaysian Super League has subsided.
Almost every LionsXII player has found a club for the new season: Most have signed for various Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League clubs, while Safuwan Baharudin joined Malaysian side PDRM FA.
But, a month after the Football Association of Malaysia decided not to extend the LionsXII's participation in their domestic competitions, head coach Fandi Ahmad and his assistant Nazri Nasir have yet to settle down on a job.
However, The New Paper understands that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is weighing up roles for the two former national skippers.
Nazri, whose contract with the FAS was due to expire on Thursday, was given a one-month extension.
He told TNP he has had conversations with FAS senior management about becoming head coach of the Young Lions next season.
"I've spoken to them and told them I want to be the Young Lions' head coach," said the 44-year-old, who captained Singapore to their first international title, the 1998 Tiger Cup.
"I've had experience coaching young players in the National Football Academy in the past.
"And, in the last two years, I've learnt a lot working alongside Fandi in the LionsXII.
"I'm ready for the Young Lions job."
The Young Lions, an age-group developmental side, were coached last year by Aide Iskandar and then German coach Juergen Raab, after the former resigned following the national Under-23 team's failure at the SEA Games in Singapore in June.
Raab's contract with the FAS has since expired, and he has returned to Germany.
In line with the FAS' plan to inject more youthfulness into the S.League from next season, it is understood the Young Lions will become an Under-21 team, although national team goal-ace Khairul Amri has been confirmed as an overaged player for them.
With most of the squad comprising S.League rookies, the season ahead looks tough.
But Nazri, who was considered by S.League club Geylang International for their head coach role before they appointed Hasrin Jailani two weeks ago, is relishing the test.
"It will be a challenge, but I will make the most of it," he said.
"I want the opportunity to show what I can do."
TNP understands the FAS will make its decision on who will be Young Lions coach after consulting technical director Michel Sablon, who will return to Singapore from his season-end break early next month.
It is believed the FAS had originally wanted Fandi to take up the role of Young Lions coach.
But the 53-year-old local football icon is now being considered for another role - as a full-time assistant to national coach Bernd Stange.
In recent international matches, the German has been assisted by Fandi and V Sundramoorthy, coach of S.League runners-up Tampines Rovers.
Both have been touted as future national head coach material, but the FAS might be tempted to appoint Fandi as a full-time assistant now.
After all, Stange's contract ends on April 16 and, having Fandi in the national set-up would mean a natural successor is in place, with the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup in December.
TNP understands the FAS executive council is deliberating on the possibility of Fandi becoming a full-time assistant, and will make a decision soon.
Fandi, who is on holiday with his family in Gold Coast in Australia, declined to comment when contacted by TNP yesterday.