Football: Razif in frame for Warriors' top job

Jorg Steinebrunner's resignation was the fourth time the Warriors have changed their coach in three years. Prime League coach Razif Onn (left) will be given a chance to stake his claim for the job on a permanent basis and will be assessed on a "game
Jorg Steinebrunner's resignation was the fourth time the Warriors have changed their coach in three years. Prime League coach Razif Onn (left) will be given a chance to stake his claim for the job on a permanent basis and will be assessed on a "game by game basis".TNP FILE PHOTO

Lam says club's Prime League coach could succeed Steinebrunner if he performs well

With Jorg Steinebrunner leaving the Warriors on Saturday, stand-in coach Razif Onn, 62, could be poised to take over the hot seat at the S-League's most successful side on a permanent basis.

Club chairman Brigadier-General Lam Shiu Tong said of the team's Prime League coach, who has been tasked with seeing out their mission to finish in the top three: "Razif will be considered for the position of head coach.

"If the stand-in coach does well, we don't want to disturb the formula. This will be an opportunity for Razif to prove himself and we will observe on a game by game basis.

"After that, the management will talk to the players and we'll make a decision from there."

But the man himself is staying calm ahead of their home tie against second-placed Tampines Rovers tomorrow. This despite the Warriors being on a run of five winless games. The nine-time champions are now a lowly seventh, with a mere 10 points from 11 matches.

Said Razif, who has been with the club since 1999: "There's no pressure and it's a great challenge. I believe I've got good support from the players and management.

WALK OUT IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE HEAT

If someone is given a task and they couldn't live up to it, it is ultimately their choice if they stay or leave. It is a responsibility that you must be prepared for.

RAZIF ONN, Warriors' stand-in coach, playing down the frequent changes in coaching personnel at the nine-time S-League winners.

"Whether it's temporary or permanent, it's still a job that I've been trusted with. I know the challenge I face next year if I were to be appointed permanently.

"Everyone has the desire to go up in their careers and reach this level. This is a great opportunity to be involved in the S-League and prove myself."

This will be his third time in charge. He also stood in briefly after V. Selvaraj's departure in 2013, then again for five games at the end of last season, after Englishman Alex Weaver left.

Steinebrunner's departure is the fourth time in three years the club have lost their head coach.

After Weaver left, Karim Bencherifa was appointed head coach last October while Steinebrunner was made the technical director in December after moving from Geylang International, where he had been head coach.

But the Moroccan left in January to be replaced by Steinebrunner.

All this is in stark contrast to when Richard Bok - the most successful coach in S-League history with four titles - took the reins for six years before leaving in 2012.

Lam lamented: "Changing coaches is not something we desire but we need to move on.

"Nobody wants this difficult situation. The club wasn't performing well and things were below expectations. Fans were getting a little impatient and were not pleased."

However, Razif is not concerned about all the chopping and changing. He said: "There's no point in looking back and saying that having four coaches in three years is a bad thing. We must keep going forward and focus on what's ahead."

Lam hopes the change will herald a new era of stability and success.

"We must still turn our season around in order to put us in a better position to attract more sponsors next year," he said.

"Obviously, sponsors won't wish to associate themselves with a club who perform poorly and that's why we need to start putting in good performances."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2016, with the headline 'Razif in frame for Warriors' top job'. Print Edition | Subscribe