Takayuki Nishigaya's 21-month tenure as Singapore national football coach ends as FAS says results 'below expectation'

Japanese compiled a 38.1 winning percentage in 21 matches as Lions struggled at AFF Cup, Asian Cup and World Cup qualifications

Singapore coach Takayuki Nishigaya during their 2026 World Cup qualifying match against Thailand at the National Stadium.
Singapore coach Takayuki Nishigaya during their 2026 World Cup qualifying match against Thailand at the National Stadium. (PHOTO: Reuters/Caroline Chia)

SINGAPORE — Singapore national men's football team head coach Takayuki Nishigaya's 21-month tenure ended on Monday (29 January), with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announcing that it has parted ways with the Japanese coach.

The 50-year-old, who was unveiled as the successor to Tatsuma Yoshida in April 2022, won just eight out of his 21 matches in charge of the Lions for a 38.1 winning percentage. In his sole tournament in charge, the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup, he oversaw a 1-4 thrashing by arch-rivals Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, a result which meant the Lions failed to advance out of the group stage after reaching the semi-finals in 2021.

Nishigaya also could not lift the Lions to reach the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, losing to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan during the third round of qualifiers. In his final two matches in charge at last year's 2026 World Cup qualifiers, Singapore lost 0-5 to South Korea and 1-3 to Thailand.

"The recent performances and results of the national team have been below expectation, and the FAS believes that an early transition to a fresh successor would re-energise the team and allow a longer runway for the National Team to prepare for important matches in the next few months and the year-end AFF tournament," FAS said in a short media statement.

"The FAS would like to place on record its gratitude and thank Nishigaya for his work in Singapore and wish him every success in his future endeavours."

Another Japanese coach to take over?

The Straits Times reported that the FAS had sounded out potential candidates to replace Nishigaya since the Thailand loss, with another Japanese, Tokyo Verdy assistant coach Tsutomu Ogura, understood to be the front runner for the job.

The Lions’ next matches will be World Cup qualifiers against China on 21 and 26 March. The first match will be played in Singapore, while the second will be an away fixture.

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