Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad has been appointed as the interim coach of the Lions, said the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Tuesday (15 May).
In a statement, the FAS said Fandi will lead the national team until a new head coach is appointed in January next year. The former national captain, 55, will take charge through the 2018 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup, which will be held from 8 November to 15 December.
FAS President Lim Kia Tong expressed his appreciation to Fandi for “stepping up” to lead the Lions for the Suzuki Cup competition.
“We do not want to hurry the appointment of the coach because we want the next national team coach to be able to bring the national team to the level we so desire,” said Lim.
In addition, Fandi will remain as the Young Lions head coach in the Singapore Premier League, and oversee next year’s South-East Asian (SEA) games squad and the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship squad.
On his decision to take up the role, Fandi said, “While the Under-23 national team remains a crucial project for me, the AFF Suzuki Cup is also a significant tournament for Singapore. We have been drawn in a tough group but I believe that the players we have are eager to fight.”
Singapore will face Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and the winner of the qualification round in Group B of the Suzuki Cup. The Lions will play the first match at home against Indonesia on 9 November.
Come January, Fandi will work with the new coach to ensure the development of players from the Under-23s to the national team, said the FAS.
Fandi took over from V Sundramoorthy, who stepped down last month after a two-year stint. Under Sundramoorthy, Singapore were ranked 173th in the world in October last year – their lowest FIFA ranking ever.
After an illustrious playing career, when he captained the Lions to clinch the Malaysia League and Cup double in 1994, Fandi began his coaching career in 2000.
He led the then Singapore Armed Forces football club to the Singapore League titles in 2000 and 2002 and won the S-League’s Coach of the Year award in 2000. As coach of the LionsXII, he helped the team win the Malaysian FA Cup title in 2015.