Steinebrunner steps down as Warriors coach
Steinebrunner the fourth coach to leave Warriors FC in just over three years
Since the departure of Richard Bok - the most successful coach in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League history with four titles - at the end of the 2012 season, Warriors FC's coaching position has been far from stable.
V Selvaraj lasted some six months before being replaced in June 2013 by Alex Weaver, who seemed to settle in, even winning the S.League title in 2014.
But the Englishman left with five games remaining last season.
Karim Bencharifa was then appointed, but he never took real charge after failing to obtain a work permit.
And the revolving door at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium continues to spin, with Jorg Steinebrunner, who was appointed co-coach with Bencherifa, "stepping down" effective from yesterday.
A run of poor results led to the club deciding to put their S.League side under the watch of Prime League coach Razif Onn.
Club general manager Paul Poh told The New Paper that Steinebrunner will stay with the club until the end of his contract in July, but has "gone on leave" for the time being.
"In the last few games, the team have not performed well, and Jorg has not delivered. We came to a mutual decision that he will step down as S.League coach with immediate effect, and the management have decided to give Razif the opportunity to take charge of the team until the end of the year," said Poh.
Nine-time champions Warriors finished fifth among 10 teams last season and the decline has continued this term. They are now seventh in the nine-team table, winless since their 2-0 victory over Albirex Niigata on March 18.
The club have lost four of their last six games since then, including a 3-1 defeat by bottom-of-the-table Garena Young Lions on Thursday. It was The Young Lions first win after 10 straight losses.
Steinebrunner lambasted referee Farhad Mohamad after the Warriors' 4-2 defeat by Tampines Rovers on April 30, and he was served a warning by the club for stepping out of line. But the club insist that his outburst was not the reason they parted ways with the German.
TNP understands that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) had originally scheduled a Disciplinary Committee meeting on Thursday to look into Steinebrunner's outburst, but Poh insisted that as far as the club are concerned, the incident is water under the bridge.
"It was a heat-of-the-moment thing, and he apologised to the club and even to the media at the next game, that incident was not why he has stepped down," said Poh.
"In fact, we have not closed the door on Jorg, we still have our youth development programmes and other things to run, and we might re-negotiate with him, and he could stay," said Poh, who did not say when the club would make their final decision.
Razif is no stranger to the job, having taken charge of the team briefly after Selvaraj's departure, then again for five games at the end of last season after Warriors parted ways with Weaver.
The club expect Razif to meet their pre-season target of a top-three finish. After 11 games into the 24-match season, the Warriors are eight points behind third-placed Home United.
"At the start of the season, our target was to finish in the top three, and that hasn't changed. It is not an impossible task," said Poh.
"If Razif cannot do that, then we will have to make new plans for next season."
Cubrilo stars on return from ban
ON SONG: Branko Cubrilo (on ground) is hugged by a teammate after scoring the first goal for Geylang. TNP PHOTO: JEREMY LONG BALESTIER 1
(Fadhil Noh 21)
(Branko Cubrilo 39, 76, Carlos Delgado-pen 66)
Branko Cubrilo marked his return from a one-match ban with two goals against Balestier Khalsa to help Geylang International to a 3-1 Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League win at Toa Payoh Stadium yesterday.
The Tigers took the lead in the 21st minute when Fadhil Noh sprinted past the Eagles' backline to put the ball into the net after a brilliant counter-attack.
But it was all Geylang after that.
Cubrilo stunned the home team with a superb volley from 20 metres out to level the score in the 39th minute.
Argentine forward Carlos Delgado then gave the visitors the lead from the spot in the second half, after Gabriel Quak was brought down by Nurullah Hussein in the penalty box.
Cubrilo completed his brace in the 76th minute to kill off the opponents' hopes of a comeback.
ON A ROLL
It was Geylang's third win in a row and no wonder coach Hasrin Jailani was delighted.
He said: "I'm pleased with his (Cubrilo) performance today.
"He's basically a very hardworking player, his attitude and commitment to the team are superb.
"But, at the end of the day, he's a striker and he needs to score, and I think he did well today."
The Eagles' latest moved them up to fourth on 18 points. It's also a timely boost for their next test against leaders Albirex Niigata on Friday.
Balestier remain second from bottom on six points.
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