Singapore hire Courtois mentor as goalkeeping coach

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has announced the hiring of Guy Martens as consulting goalkeeper coach on a short term contract.

Martens' signing is seen as something of a coup for Singapore, given that the 56-year-old Belgian was recently linked with Chelsea on the advice of his former mentee Thibaut Courtois.

“Singapore will definitely benefit from having Guy on board," Courtois said. "He is the best goalkeeper coach I have ever worked with, and I learnt everything from him.

"He is very special and committed, and helped me improve as a player. I am sure he will improve any goalkeeper he works with in Singapore as well.

“I would have loved to work with him again, but I am happy for him that he is going on a new adventure in Singapore.

"Based on what I have heard from him, it will be an exciting journey and I wish him and those he will work with all the best.”

Martens, who left Belgian Pro League club KRC Genk in June after 25 years, has signed a three-month contract and will work alongside FAS technical director Michel Sablon.

"I had intended to take a break after 25 years of coaching, but when Michel contacted me and shared with me about the exciting plans in place for Singapore football, I decided to take up the offer on a short-term basis," Martens said.

"I could have remained in Europe but I decided to take up this challenge as I strongly believe in the vision and direction of the Singapore Federation.

"I acknowledge that the Federation faces some challenges including limitations in budget but I believe its strong leadership and visionary programmes will result in success."

Sablon, too, was delighted that his compatriot had accepted the offer to come to Southeast Asia and work with him.

"To have someone of his stature coaching our goalkeepers in Singapore and guiding our goalkeeper coaches would be tremendously beneficial to us," he said.

"He was extremely excited after I shared with him an overview of the Federation’s vision and plans."

It was a view shared by FAS president Zainudin Nordin, who indicated that the recent deal with MP & Silva had provided the additional resources required to lure top talent like Sablon, Martens and youth teams head coach Richard Tardy.

"Going forward, we will continue to work towards securing the support of our key partners and thereafter bring on board more personnel with a strong track record to further facilitate the progress of local football in all aspects," he said.

Photo: Football Association of Singapore