Football: Fandi set to choose FAS ahead of Pahang

Fandi Ahmad, whose contract with the Football Association of Singapore ends in December, has been offered a lucrative deal to coach Pahang.
Fandi Ahmad, whose contract with the Football Association of Singapore ends in December, has been offered a lucrative deal to coach Pahang.TNP FILE PHOTO

Fandi persuaded to stay by new long-term deal, which includes the chance to lead youth teams at major Games

A last-minute meeting between Football Association of Singapore (FAS) officials and Fandi Ahmad appears to have thrown a spanner in the Lions legend's proposed move to Malaysian Super League (MSL) side Pahang.

The Straits Times understands that the FAS has offered the 54-year-old a new multi-year deal that includes a pay rise.

It will also back his plans to lead national youth teams at several major Games leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

It is believed that struggling Pahang had offered a lucrative deal to Fandi, who played for them from 1991 to 1992 - winning the Malaysia league and Cup double in the second year. Pahang are bottom of the 12-team MSL with just three wins in 19 games.

Asked by The Straits Times for an update to negotiations, the FAS re-sent a statement it had prepared on Tuesday, which said details are confidential and that an announcement would be made when there is "something conclusive".

 

Fandi, whose current deal is set to expire in December, could not be reached for comment following yesterday's crunch meeting.

It is understood that he has also asked to work with the Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (Safsa) football team, whom many aspiring footballers join as they enter national service.

In addition, yesterday's negotiations also threw up the possibility of the former national striker having his own coaching team supporting him, including former national fitness coach Aleksandar Bozenko.

The Serb Bozenko left the FAS set-up last December after 11 years and is currently with Thai Premier League club Chonburi FC. It is believed his contract ends next month.

Should Fandi sign on, the FAS would also have to clarify where he fits in the national teams department.

It remains to be seen if Fandi, who holds an Asian Football Confederation Pro Diploma, will continue helping national caretaker coach V. Sundramoorthy with the senior team.

The national team have the Nov 19-Dec 17 Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup coming up, where Sundram has set a target of reaching the semi-finals. The Lions are four-time champions but last won the trophy in 2012.

And if Fandi is handed the reins of a national youth team, it remains to be seen where he fits in FAS technical director Michel Sablon's youth development plan.

The Belgian, who was hired in April last year, appointed Frenchman Richard Tardy as head coach of the national youth teams in July last year.

Fandi is currently in his second spell with the FAS. He coached the Young Lions, then essentially the national Under-23 team, from 2003 to 2006.

The two-time S-League-winning coach led the Young Lions to two third-placed finishes in the league, their best-ever showings.

He rejoined the FAS late in 2013, succeeding Sundram as coach of the LionsXII. Last year, he led the team to victory in the Malaysian FA Cup.

He was roped in to assist former national coach Bernd Stange after the LionsXII were disbanded at the end of the 2015 campaign.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'Fandi set to choose FAS ahead of Pahang'. Print Edition | Subscribe