Football: Bernd Stange stays as Lions coach to oversee SEA Games preparations

Lions coach Bernd Stange during the AFF Suzuki Cup match between Singapore and Malaysia at the National Stadium on Nov 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Lions coach Bernd Stange during the AFF Suzuki Cup match between Singapore and Malaysia at the National Stadium on Nov 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced on Monday that it will decide on national football coach Bernd Stange's future only after next June's South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil.

In a statement released on Monday night, it said: "FAS will continue to work closely with the national team backroom staff, including coaches, and ensure they receive the support they need in their preparations for upcoming competitions including the 2015 SEA Games, the Fifa Asian World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-22 qualifers.

"The performances of our national team coaching staff, including coach Bernd Stange, will be assessed following the 2015 SEA Games, which remain a priority for us."

It confirmed that Stange, whose original two-year contract expires in May, had already signed a three-month extension to his current deal in June.

The 66-year-old German's position had come under intense scrutiny after the Lions, who were the AFF Suzuki Cup defending champions, lost 3-1 to bitter rivals Malaysia at the National Stadium last month and were eliminated from the biennial competition.

The FAS' executive committee, led by president Zainudin Nordin, met to discuss several topics, including the fate of Stange, and decided not to wield the axe on the former Belarus and East Germany national coach.

Said Stange in the same statement: "I will learn from, and rectify, the mistakes we had made and aim to make our team stronger and better. I am fully focused on the next assignment."

The FAS also announced that five candidates have been shortlisted from over 60 applicants from the top 20 countries in the world football rankings to succeed current technical director Slobodan Pavkovic. The Serb will step down from his post next month and his replacement will be revealed before March.

Added FAS president Zainudin: "We spent the past few months looking for the best available person who will be a good fit with the local football environment. I am very pleased with the calibre and quality of the candidates who have applied for the position."