Football: Ex-Lions goalkeeper Stephen Ng appointed Singapore's new women's head coach

Stephen Ng will lead the women's national team in the AFC Women's Asian Cup qualifiers scheduled for Sept 13-25, 2021.
Stephen Ng will lead the women's national team in the AFC Women's Asian Cup qualifiers scheduled for Sept 13-25, 2021.PHOTO: FAS

SINGAPORE - New Lionesses head coach Stephen Ng hopes to build the team into a unit that can compete against the regional sides, and help grow the women's football scene along the way.

Former national goalkeeper Ng, 50, was announced in his new role on Sunday (March 7) on a two-year term, as part of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Football Day celebrations at the Jalan Besar Stadium which featured 110 female players.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said that he was selected from over 160 applicants which included foreign coaches. He takes over from caretaker coach Ratna Suffian, who had been in charge of the team since Melisa Ye stepped down in Dec 2019.

Ng said he was "honoured and proud" to be appointed. He added: "I can see so much potential in women's football in Singapore, and I wanted to be able to do something about it and contribute in my own way."

He will lead the women's national team in the AFC Women's Asian Cup qualifiers scheduled for Sept 13-25 - the groups and locations have not been determined - and the Asean Football Federation's Women's Championship that is slated for August or September in the Philippines.

If given the nod, the Lionesses could also compete at the Nov 21-Dec 2 SEA Games in Vietnam.

Ng said that aside from working directly with the women's team, another area he wants to focus on is to grow the number of women coaches and accelerate the development of female youth players locally.

"I intend to build on the results of people who have contributed to our women's national teams in the past and work hard to create a prominent presence for us both in Southeast Asia and subsequently Asia in the years to come," said Ng, who holds a AFC professional diploma, the highest level of coaching accreditation issued by the Asian football body.

Ng, who previously coached the Singapore boys' national Under-14 team in 2013, had spent six years at the Brunei Football Association, where he helped to develop their women's grassroots football.

FAS technical director Joseph Palatsides said: "Stephen's experience spans the full spectrum of youth, grassroots as well as elite level of coaching, and I am confident he will be able to utilise this to elevate our women's football in their overall development."