Fandi open to talks with FAS over LionsXII job

Fandi Ahmad says if a job offer comes from the FAS, he will think about it seriously.
Fandi Ahmad says if a job offer comes from the FAS, he will think about it seriously.THE NEW PAPER FILE PHOTO

Former striker wants to know what his role is before committing himself

He is the popular choice to step into the LionsXII job in the wake of V. Sundramoorthy's resignation - and Fandi Ahmad is open to the idea of taking it up.

The former Singapore star striker told The Straits Times yesterday that he is willing to renew ties with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

"I must listen to what the FAS has to say before committing myself to anything," said Fandi, who left the FAS fold in 2006 to coach in Malaysia and Indonesia.

"I want to know what role it has in mind for me and what it wants me to do."

Yesterday, The Straits Times broke the news that the former national captain is the favourite to replace Sundram. Sources had told this newspaper that the FAS is keen to speak to Fandi and regard him as an ideal candidate for the LionsXII job given his ability to motivate young players and rapport with football fans. One source even rated the 51-year-old's chances of landing the post at "80 per cent".

The FAS, in response to the article, said that no decision has been made on Sundram's replacement as yet.

It said that it will place an advertisement to call for interested candidates and will pick the best applicant in due course. It added that it is not intending to meet Fandi this week, as reported.

The Straits Times understands that Fandi will be asked to apply for the position formally before the FAS can make its approach.

Said Fandi yesterday: "I am open to discussion with the FAS. If an offer comes, I will think about it seriously."

He has received offers from two Malaysian Super League sides ahead of the 2014 season. But when queried, he said his first choice is to work in Singapore.

He said: "After working abroad for seven years, my priorities now are to stay in Singapore and find what's best for my family."

He left the country in 2006 to take charge of Indonesian Premier League club Pelita Jaya until 2010.

He did not win any silverware with Pelita, but was lauded for his policy of blooding youngsters.

He returned to coaching last year when he joined Johor Darul Takzim, but resigned in August after they finished third in the MSL.

At Johor, he assembled a dream team that included seven Malaysian internationals as well as former Spain striker Daniel Guiza and ex-Lazio midfielder Simone del Nero. But the club's season was ruined by allegations of player power.

Previously, he led the Young Lions team and was assistant national coach to Raddy Avramovic from 2003 to 2006.

During his time with the Young Lions, he helped the team to two third-place finishes in the S-League in 2004 and 2006.

His possible return to the local scene was welcomed by the fraternity with LionsXII and national captain Shahril Ishak, striker Khairul Amri and national coach Bernd Stange all saying the move would work out as he is an inspiration to many Singapore players.

meng@sph.com.sg