Former national star Fandi applies for LionsXII job

Making their choice known to the FAS loud and clear, Singapore fans hold up a banner calling for Fandi's appointment to the LionsXII coaching post at the Singapore v Laos football match at Jalan Besar Stadium on Oct 10.
Making their choice known to the FAS loud and clear, Singapore fans hold up a banner calling for Fandi's appointment to the LionsXII coaching post at the Singapore v Laos football match at Jalan Besar Stadium on Oct 10.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

He is one of about 50 coaches vying to succeed Sundram

With 24 hours to go before the deadline, Fandi Ahmad has submitted his application for the post of LionsXII head coach.

The Straits Times learnt that the former national football captain, the fans' favourite to replace the departing V. Sundramoorthy, threw his name into the hat yesterday.

A source said: "Fandi has done something that will make Singapore football fans very happy.

"He has e-mailed his resume to the FAS (Football Association of Singapore)."

Fandi, 51, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In an interview earlier this month, he said that after plying his trade abroad for the last seven years in Indonesia and Malaysia, he wants to return home to coach and he is open to the idea of leading the LionsXII.

Although he is the popular choice to lead the defending Malaysian Super League (MSL) champions, the father of five faces stiff competition from other qualified tacticians.

The source added that since the FAS advertised the post in this newspaper on Oct 12, about 50 applications have been received. Applications close at 11.59pm tonight.

One of those who have applied is the S-League's most successful coach, Richard Bok. The 44-year-old, currently a financial planner with an insurance company, won four league titles and three Singapore Cups with Singapore Armed Forces FC (now Warriors FC).

Two foreigners who have confirmed their application are former Myanmar and Brunei national coach David Booth, a 65-year-old Englishman, and current Kelantan tactician Bojan Hodak, a 42-year-old Croat, who won the Treble of the MSL, Malaysia Cup and Malaysian FA Cup last year.

But sources believe that Fandi has "an 80 per cent chance" of landing the job. The former star striker is known for his inspirational team talks. His commitment to playing entertaining and attacking football, which will draw fans to LionsXII matches, is another factor in his favour.

The FAS will form a panel to evaluate the candidates and a shortlist of up to five will be drawn up.

It is believed that general secretary Winston Lee, national coach Bernd Stange and technical director Slobodan Pavkovic will be on the panel that will interview the finalists early next month.

The shortlisted coaches are also expected to sit for a written test set by Stange. The new man in charge of the LionsXII will then be named by the end of next month.

The new MSL season is expected to start in January.

meng@sph.com.sg