FAS signs on Fandi for the long term

fandi_ahmad.jpg

Singapore’s footballing son Fandi Ahmad turned down offers from Malaysia to stay on with the FAS as a head youth coach... 

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has signed up Fandi Ahmad as Head Coach, Youth on an initial three-year deal, the association announced on Tuesday at a press conference at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Fandi’s contract with the FAS was set to expire at the end of the year and he was involved in a prolonged negotiation to ensure he stayed on with the association.

There were reports that clubs in Malaysia were interested in acquiring his services too, but the former LionsXII head coach has rejected their advances to stay with the FAS.

“All I wanted is just to stay in Singapore to help the youth development. I had a lot of discussion with the FAS because my main target is to develop more players for the national team,” Fandi said at the press conference.

“I had a lot of offers, especially from Malaysia and frankly, I got the best deal from Pahang.

"(But) they said Fandi this is your project, you must do it for your country, so I respect that and I thank them for giving me an opportunity to stay in Singapore.

“I am glad I am staying put. With me being here, we can develop more players. We are trying to do a lot of things for Singapore football and also supporting the national team.

Fandi was previously assisting Sundram with the national team. Photo: FAS

FAS vice-president Edwin Tong expressed delight that Fandi agreed to extend his tenure with the association and he believes the Singapore legend will prove to be an asset in time to come.

“One of the purposes behind the time that we took was to ensure our objectives and our interests and also our visions and goals were in line,” Tong said.

“We agreed for Fandi to take on the position as the Head Coach, Youth, where he will oversee, nurture and identity youth talents and use that platform as a basis to then make the bedrock for the national team in time to come.”

One of the reasons behind the length is because of the objectives that we have in mind

- Edwin Tong

Fandi will accept the role on a three-plus-three year basis and will report to technical director Michel Sablon directly.

Among his tasks, Fandi will also prepare and take teams ‘for the purposes of competing in the Asian Games 2018, the SEA Games 2019 and 2021 and also eventually on a longer term basis, the Olympics 2012 in Tokyo.’

He will also continue to support Singapore interim head coach Sundram as his assistant with the national team.

The length of the deal raised many questions among the reporters, especially since Sundram was only given a one-year contract when he took over the national team in May.

Fandi will be tied down for three years. Photo: FAS

However, Tong believes that the end objective both FAS and Fandi had in mind meant that it was necessary Fandi was tied down for the long haul.

“One step at a time, is the approach that we should take,” Tong said. “I think we have been looking at revamping and how we can improve Singapore football.

“The starting point was how we could help our youth programmes, and one of the reasons behind the length is because of the objectives that we have in mind.

“Clearly if you want to try to reach Asian Games or the Olympics, you need a stable platform, you want continuity and you want that something that the stakeholders know will continue.”

i believe one day, five years after this project is finished, maybe I am ready (to become Singapore head coach)

- Fandi

Fandi shared that this does not mean he has given up on his dreams of leading the Lions; he has merely put it on hold as he sets out to achieve the goals the FAS has given him.

“Definitely any coach want to coach their own country, Singapore is part of my life, I was brought up here," Fandi said.

“I believe one day, four, five years after this project is finished and hopefully we achieved our aim, maybe I am ready (to become Singapore head coach).

“For now, the best is to develop more youths for the national team.”

Main Photo: Weixiang Lim/FFT