Michael Sablon unveiled as FAS Technical Director

Belgian Michel Sablon has been appointed as the Football Association of Singapore's new Technical Director on a two-year contract.

The 67-year-old fills the vacancy left by Slobodan Pavkovic, who implemented Singapore's National Football Syllabus and left in December of last year.

Sablon's curriculm vitae to date is an impressive one, as it includes stints as part of the Belgian national coaching setup at various World Cups before he was appointed as Director for the 2000 European Championships.

His latest stint was as National Technical Director of the Royal Belgian Football Federation, where he designed and introduced 'La vision de formation de l'URBSFA'  – a 10-year master plan that led to a 'Golden Generation' of players that include the likes of Eden Hazard, Thomas Vermaelen, Romelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany.

"Michel is one of the most renowned and successful Technical Directors in the world today, and his vision and hard work in revamping the youth development system in Belgium have been acknowledged as a key factor in the rise and success of Belgian football in recent years," FAS President Zainudin Nordin said.

"[He] brings with him great wealth of international experience, ability and track record in mentoring and grooming youth players and coaches, and his experience at the FIFA World Cup and other high-profile competitions will benefit our various teams preparing for their international assignments.

"In view of his experience in managing UEFA Euro 2000, Michel is well-positioned to spearhead our bid to host the FIFA Under-17 World Cup and oversee the long-term preparations for the competition."

The new FAS Technical Director also had good words for his new employers, revealing that he was keen to start nurturing Singapore's next batch of young talents.

"It was a rigorous recruitment process and I deeply appreciate that the FAS officials were sincere and forthright throughout the process," he said.

"In addition to their openness in sharing with me the key challenges and constraints, I am also impressed by their passion and determination in enhancing the quality of Singapore football.

"I had received a few good offers although I should add that the professionalism and sincerity of the Federation convinced me to accept this challenging position."

Sablon also spoke of the similarities and differences between Belgium and Singapore, and what it would take to improve the country's fortunes when it came to nurturing youth.

"Youth development is a long-term project and takes time to yield results," he said.

"I will work closely with my partners and colleagues to further strengthen the current structure and system, which include key programmes such as the National Football Academy, and Junior Centres of Excellence which was launched just a few years ago.

"Going forward, I am confident that the quality of players who have been developed through our full youth development system will be greatly enhanced by the time they graduate from the NFA.

"Belgium and Singapore are countries with a small population size and while the challenges and constraints are, to some extent, different, I am confident in building on the success of FAS’ youth development system.

"In addition to the development of our youth players and coaches at both the elite and grassroots levels, I also look forward to overseeing the bid to host the FIFA Under-17 World Cup which is, in my view, a game-changer for football and sports in Singapore."

Photo: thethaovanho