Jita says bye to Frenz, Hi to Tampines

Jita Singh (above) wants to contribute to Singapore football. But the former national coach has rejected speculation that he will soon contest the FAS election of office-bearers.
Jita Singh (above) wants to contribute to Singapore football. But the former national coach has rejected speculation that he will soon contest the FAS election of office-bearers. BH FILE PHOTO

Former Lions coach takes up newly-created role as Rovers' director of football excellence

As Singapore football icon Fandi Ahmad mulls over a move to coach Malaysian Super League side Pahang, another big name in Singapore football is making his way back from across the Causeway.

Former national coach Jita Singh, who led the Lions to the 1980 Malaysia Cup, has joined S-League side Tampines Rovers as their director of football excellence, a newly-created position.

The 67-year-old was previously a technical advisor with Frenz United Football Academy, a football academy based in Pahang.

It is believed he rejected a few offers in Malaysia and will officially start work with the Stags - who are second in the S-League with four games remaining - on Nov 1.

Yesterday, Jita told The Straits Times: "Football is in my blood and so if there is something I can contribute towards, I am happy to step forward.

"Tampines Rovers were a clear favourite, especially given the bold, positive and game changing influence of (former chairman) Teo Hock Seng in the past and the innovative approach by the current chairman (Krishna Ramachandra)."

There was speculation that Jita, who was senior head of game development at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) before resigning in 2014, would also be contesting the FAS election of office-bearers.

The FAS annual general meeting is scheduled for next Saturday, when it is hoped that its members will approve changes to its constitution, paving the way for an election before the end of the year.

However, Jita has quashed the rumours, adding: "I do not have to be at the FAS to make a difference (to Singapore football)."

In his new role, Jita will oversee all aspects of the club's football activities, including reviewing their youth development programme, mentoring the coaching staff and implementing a talent scouting system.

Tampines chairman Krishna said he was pleased to acquire someone of Jita's "immense talent, experience and stature".

He said: "Jita has a very unique set of qualities that equips him, if given the right platform, to have a positive impact for football.

"As a football club, we are less constrained by cumbersome institutional processes (than bigger organisations), and this flexibility and incisiveness from a club was something Jita was drawn towards when he was looking at his various offers and options."

FAS staff coach Fandi, who scored the winning goal in the 1980 Malaysia Cup final, is considering offers from Pahang and the FAS. His contract with the FAS expires in December.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Jita says bye to Frenz, Hi to Tampines'. Print Edition | Subscribe