Ex-Lions coach Raddy tipped to join Tigers

Former Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic training with the Myanmar football team at Serangoon Stadium last November during the AFF Championship. He lasted less than two years at the helm.
Former Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic training with the Myanmar football team at Serangoon Stadium last November during the AFF Championship. He lasted less than two years at the helm. TNP FILE PHOTO

Ex-Lion tamer, who achieved much success in S'pore, axed by Myanmar after poor results

Former Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic's tenure as head coach of the Myanmar national football team ended last Saturday, a little over 20 months after he was appointed on Feb 5 last year.

The Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) confirmed that the Serb had left his post in an Oct 17 post on its website, and said German Gerd Zeise, the country's Under-20 and U-19 coach, will take charge of the senior team.

The 65-year-old had 14 months left on his contract, having signed a 17-month extension in July.

According to the Myanmar Times, the MFF said the decision was made "so Myanmar could win international matches in the future and produce better football players".

The statement added that Avramovic was given three months' severance pay.

The former Lions coach, who won three Asean Football Championship titles during a nine-year spell here, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

NEED SOMEONE BETTER

So Myanmar could win international matches in the future and produce better football players.''

MYANMAR FOOTBALL FEDERATION on ending Avramovic's contract early

Reputed to be a shrewd tactician, Avramovic is Singapore's most successful national coach after masterminding a hat-trick of Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup crowns (2004, 2007 and 2012).

During his nine-year tenure from 2003 to 2012, he also took the Lions to the brink of qualification for the 2011 Asian Cup Finals, missing out on qualification by a point. Apart from automatic qualification as hosts in 1984, Singapore had never made it to the continental showpiece.

Known as a father figure to his players, he mentored the spine of the current Singapore team, which includes skipper Shahril Ishak, powerful centre-back Baihakki Khaizan, dynamic midfielder Hariss Harun and clinical striker Khairul Amri.

However, he was unable to replicate his success with Myanmar. In 21 matches at the helm, his record stood at seven wins, four draws and 10 losses.

The White Angels are currently fourth in the five-team Group G of the Asian Football Confederation World Cup second-round qualifiers.

Their world ranking plummeted from 141st last year to the current 163rd spot.

However, the latest development will fuel speculation that Avramovic could soon be appointed head coach of the Malaysian national team.

The Tigers are without a head coach following Dollah Salleh's resignation last month in the aftermath of a 10-0 thrashing by the United Arab Emirates in the World Cup qualifiers.

Ong Kim Swee is currently the interim coach of Malaysia, as the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) searches for a replacement.

The FAM did not respond to queries from The Straits Times.

It is believed that Avramovic wants to remain in South-east Asia to be near his only son, Ivan, and grandsons, who live in Singapore.

His replacement in Myanmar, Zeise, received the appointment on the back of strong performances.

He led the U-19s to the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this year for the first time, even though they were eliminated in the group stage after losing all three matches.

The new coach's first assignment is a World Cup qualifier against Asian powerhouses South Korea in Suwon on Nov 12.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2015, with the headline 'Raddy to join Malaysia?'. Print Edition | Subscribe