Assistant coach yet to be confirmed

V. Sundramoorthy, the new national coach of the Football Association of Singapore.
V. Sundramoorthy, the new national coach of the Football Association of Singapore. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Even as new Lions head coach V. Sundramoorthy's backroom staff was unveiled at his first training session at Geylang Field yesterday, questions remained about a crucial missing piece - his assistant.

The Football Association of Singapore's fitness coach Balder Berckmans and goalkeeper coach Frederic de Boever have been roped in, but even Sundram was tight-lipped about the identity of his assistant coach.

The presence of Fandi Ahmad did little to quell rumours. The former national captain was spotted attending the briefing prior to last night's workout, but left soon after .

It is understood that Fandi, who was Bernd Stange's assistant, will work alongside Sundram during next week's AYA Bank Cup in Myanmar.

Sundram declined to speak about his former international team-mate and was forthcoming only about his player selection. He said: "It's very positive, the boys are looking forward to representing their country... they are really raring to go.

"They pick themselves to be in the first XI. In training, in the tournament in Myanmar, you should carry yourself well in discipline as a national player, the same way you do for your club."

New call-ups Home United's Azhar Sairudin and Geylang International's Amy Recha were eager to impress.

Midfielder Azhar, 30 said: "The pace is much faster than I thought, but I like it. It still feels a bit weird in a new environment, but hopefully I can fit in."

Sundram might be a familiar figure to many in the squad but that will count for little when he picks his team, said Hafiz Sujad of his former coach at Tampines Rovers.

He added: "Knowing Sundram, he'll give everybody a chance to fight for their spot. More experienced players can give more, and we respect that.

"But with youngsters coming in, you automatically know that in order to get into the first XI, you have to work really hard during training, that includes me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 29, 2016, with the headline 'Assistant coach yet to be confirmed'. Print Edition | Subscribe