Raddy Avramovic steps down as Home United coach after cancer diagnosis
Veteran tactician to return to Serbia, Noh Rahman takes over as interim Home coach
"We were all shocked when we heard about it.
But I know Raddy, and I'm sure he will fight this hard."
- Home United forward Shahril Ishak, on Radojko Avramovic
Home United coach Radojko Avramovic will be stepping down from his post with immediate effect due to health reasons, the club announced yesterday.
TNP understands that the wily tactician, affectionately known as "Raddy", had been diagnosed with stage-two lung cancer. He will be returning to Serbia to seek medical treatment.
Avramovic, 69, led Home to four wins and a draw in eight games after he was officially unveiled as their coach on July 2.
In the process, the club moved from sixth to fifth in the nine-team Singapore Premier League.
His appointment at Home lifted everyone at the club due to his stellar reputation.
During his previous stint here from 2003 to 2012, the Serb had led the Singapore national team to three Asean football titles in 2005, 2007 and 2012.
Announcing Avramovic's departure, Home general manager Badri Ghent said: "We are shocked by this unexpected news and everyone at the club wishes him a speedy recovery.
"We are honoured that someone of his stature has led the club, despite the short tenure. He has definitely made a positive impact on everyone... during his time with us."
Home's veteran forward Shahril Ishak, who scored a brace when they defeated Warriors FC 3-1 last Saturday, was one of those who had benefited from Avramovic's tutelage.
The 35-year-old blossomed into one of the national team's key players during Avramovic's earlier stint with the Lions.
Said Shahril: "We were all shocked when we heard about it. But I know Raddy, and I'm sure he will fight this hard. I hope the recovery goes well for him.
"For us, we have been very grateful for him during his time here and you can see the impact he has made on the squad already in terms of performances and results."
Assistant coach Noh Rahman, who will reprise his role as interim coach while the club searches for a replacement, expressed his gratitude to Avramovic.
Said Noh: "When he informed me privately, I was shocked. Obviously, I didn't see this coming.
"But when we are talking about health, then that's way more important than football.
"So not only me, the whole club have to respect his wish to go back to Serbia to seek treatment."
Noh, 39, who also played for Avramovic's Lions, said his mentor's attitude towards football has not changed a bit.
"Working alongside him, without fail, you will receive a message from him almost every midnight about his ideas for the next training," said Noh.
"Although it was a short period and it feels like I was doing my internship, he got me heavily involved in the planning of training, running the sessions, even team-talk meetings and pre- or post-match interviews."
Wishing Avramovic a full recovery, Noh added: "He played the mentoring role and often gave me feedback on how I can adapt or deal with certain difficulties. That, in many ways, is priceless and I'm very grateful for that."
3 Radojko Avramovic led the Singapore national team to three Asean football titles in 2005, 2007 and 2012.