French or Belgian candidate to be FAS technical director
And then there were two.
The New Paper understands the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has whittled down its search for a new technical director to two individuals, and will make a decision before the month is up.
TNP had reported on Dec 30 that the football body had drawn up a shortlist of five men, all hailing from Europe.
It is believed that Frenchman Patrice Bergues, a former Liverpool assistant coach, is one of two candidates who remain in the reckoning.
Besides the Frenchman, a Belgian candidate is in the running for the post.
The other candidates were a German, a Dutchman and Englishman Brian Eastick.
The final two were understood to have been in town last month to meet senior management of the FAS.
Bergues, 66, was at Premier League giants Liverpool for seven years when compatriot Gerard Houllier was in charge from 1998 to 2004, a period that saw the Reds win a glorious treble of FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup in 2001.
Before that, he had stints as head of youth development of top-tier French club Lens, and also as coach of various France youth national teams.
The technical director's position became vacant after Serb Slobodan Pavkovic, who held the position since March 2008, left after his latest contract ended in December 2014.
The technical director is set to play a key role in Singapore's bid to host either the 2019 or 2021 U-17 World Cup, and will assist FAS's two vice-presidents - Bernard Tan and Edwin Tong - who are working on the proposal.
Tong previously said that candidates for the post should have experience leading a team at Fifa or Uefa age-group championships, or a good track record as the technical director of a top team in Europe.
The technical director's task will include building on the current youth development set-up, improving the quality of the young players coming through the system and grooming local coaches.
In an update on the search, the FAS said in December they had shortlisted candidates from over 60 applicants from the "top 20 countries in the world football rankings".
FAS president Zainudin Nordin said then: "We spent the past few months looking for the best available person who will be a good fit with the local football environment.
"I am very pleased with the calibre and quality of the candidates who have applied for the position.
"We have met the shortlisted candidates who have shown us their plans for Singapore's youth development that are aligned with our goals of producing competitive and winning teams at all age-group levels for key competitions such as Asian Cup, Asian Games, World Cup qualifiers, pre-Olympic qualifiers, AFF Suzuki Cup, SEA Games and AFC/AFF age-group competitions.
"We hope to announce the appointment before March."