Give Fandi a five-year contract, FAS

The Lions were eliminated from the AFF Suzuki Cup tournament after losing to Thailand in their final Group B match on Sunday (Lions no match for Thailand; Nov 26).

Like most die-hard fans, I was disappointed with the Lions' early exit from the tournament for the third consecutive time.

The Lions' Suzuki Cup dream may have ended, but the journey continues.

The road ahead will be long but we can take heart from the fighting spirit and determination the boys have shown in their performance throughout the tournament.

Having occupied the hot seat on a caretaker basis, Fandi Ahmad's tenure as interim national coach is set to come to an end.

But he must be credited for bringing back the fans and putting the roar back in the Lions.

I urge the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to consider extending Fandi's stint.

An advocate of attacking and free-flowing football, Fandi always adapts a high-pressing game that is entertaining to watch.

The team has improved tremendously over the last few months under his mentorship, recording five wins, a draw and two defeats in eight games.

Fandi, who took over the helm in May, should be given more time to develop the team further.

Team-building in sports such as football is a long process and it is worthwhile for the FAS to consider extending Fandi's stint.

Fandi has also done a great job off the pitch.

There was a high level of camaraderie between Fandi, the backroom staff and the players throughout the tournament.

A passionate believer in developing young players and a good motivator, Fandi is the right man to take the team forward. Perhaps he could be given a five-year contract.

A. Thiyaga Raju

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2018, with the headline 'Give Fandi a five-year contract, FAS'. Print Edition | Subscribe