Football: FAS keeps faith with Sundram in his quest for success

Despite criticism of national coach V. Sundram Moorthy's tactics, FAS president Lim Kia Tong believes the tactician will deliver.
Despite criticism of national coach V. Sundram Moorthy's tactics, FAS president Lim Kia Tong believes the tactician will deliver.TNP FILE PHOTO

Although the national football team have had mixed results since V. Sundram Moorthy took over the reins last May, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) executive committee's faith in the national coach has not wavered.

And in a vote of confidence, the tactician was awarded a two-year contract just before the inaugural FAS council election in April, less than a year after his appointment.

Despite criticism that Sundram's tactics can be too defensive, FAS president Lim Kia Tong believes Sundram will deliver.

He said during the round-table session with The Straits Times: "We all have confidence that Sundram, despite his 'Park the bus' policy, should be able to lead the team to more success.

"When we look at the (national team), I want to see good local coaches come to the forefront. When I look at local coaches, straight away I can only see two who can reach the status of national coach - Sundram and Fandi (Ahmad).

"We have to give them opportunities. We adopted a very cautious approach by naming him (Sundram) the caretaker national coach."

ENDORSING HIS FUTURE

We all have confidence that Sundram, despite his 'Park the bus' policy, should be able to lead the team to more success.

LIM KIA TONG, Football Association of Singapore president.

Lim explained that the "caretaker" tag was initially added to Sundram's designation as the council did not want to "throw him into the deep end to sink or swim" and to give him time to prove himself.

In last November's Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup group stage in Manila, Sundram at times deployed an unusual six-man defence in an ultra-defensive 6-3-1 formation for the Lions.

However, they were eliminated at the group stage after losing twice (0-1 against Thailand and 1-2 against Indonesia) and earning just a solitary draw (0-0 against the Philippines).

Still, Sundram's "park the bus" tactics have reaped rewards before. As coach of the LionsXII, he won the 2013 Malaysian Super League title with a well-drilled defence while hitting opponents with set-pieces and counter-attacks.

FAS vice-president Edwin Tong reaffirmed the association's belief that it has given the top job to the best Singaporean available.

He said: "No foreign coach can be the role model that Sundram or Fandi can be to our local community and to our stakeholders. It's part of the culture of building from within, making sure that Singapore has its local heroes.

"It would be remiss of us to pass the opportunity of appointing a local coach when one was available."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'FAS keeps faith with Sundram in his quest for success'. Print Edition | Subscribe