Football: Bernd Stange finishes stint as Lions coach, says he fell short of some goals

Singapore football coach Bernd Stange gives the thumbs-up to FAS staff at Changi Airport Terminal 1 on April 15, 2016.
Singapore football coach Bernd Stange gives the thumbs-up to FAS staff at Changi Airport Terminal 1 on April 15, 2016.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Bernd Stange's stint as head coach of the Singapore football team ended on Friday (April 15), 35 months after he was first appointed in May 2013. He returned to Germany the same night.

In a press statement, the 68-year-old German said: "When I was appointed the national coach about three years ago, I set for myself a number of targets. We fell short of some goals and this is a regret for me and my players."

In the statement, the German did not indicate in which areas he fell short.

He did, however, point to Singapore securing a berth in the third qualifying round of the 2019 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup as signs of progress.

The former Belarus national coach added that he has submitted to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) a report which included recommendations aimed at raising the standards of Singapore football.

National team captain Shahril Ishak said: "Coach Bernd always defends his players and also seeks to take the pressure away from us - even if it leads to him being criticised unfairly. (He also) did not blame any player or anyone after we were knocked out of the competition.

"We have full respect towards Coach Bernd, so it is with fondness that we say farewell."

FAS president Zainudin Nordin thanked Stange for his contributions, noting the number of players he had handed international debuts to.

Zainudin added: "Beyond his on-the-pitch duties, Bernd also strived to enhance the standards of local football in many areas, including sports science and facilities. On behalf of the FAS, I want to place on record our sincere appreciation to Bernd."