Football: New FAS technical director Joseph Palatsides confident of rousing 'sleeping giant' Singapore

Australian Joe Palatsides, 53, worked at A-League club Melbourne City from 2012 before he resigned last month as the assistant coach of the senior team.
Australian Joe Palatsides, 53, worked at A-League club Melbourne City from 2012 before he resigned last month as the assistant coach of the senior team.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - New Football Association of Singapore (FAS) technical director Joseph Palatsides hopes to rouse local football from its slumber.

"I see Singapore football as a sleeping giant," said the 53-year-old Australian, who signed a two-year contract with the option of a further two years, at his unveiling at Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday (May 2).

"The culture of Singapore is of excellence... and this culture can be translated to football as well. We already have things in place to achieve excellence and I see it as my job to take it one step further."

Prior to coming to Singapore, the former defender was the head of A-League club Melbourne City's youth academy.

Palatsides, who played and coached in Australia and Greece, will oversee the development of Singapore football in all aspects, which includes enhancing the development of the national age-group teams, grassroots and women's football, as well as further strengthening the youth development and coaching structures.

Singapore won three South-east Asian titles in five AFF Suzuki Cups from 2004 to 2012 but have since suffered three straight first-round exits. The Lions are currently ranked 160th in the world, with local fans lamenting a lack of talented young players coming through the development system.

Palatsides fills the role vacated by Michel Sablon, who was appointed in April 2015 and left last December. The Belgian had unveiled an 11-point plan to rejuvenate the game in May 2016. FAS president Lim Kia Tong said Palatsides stood out because of his experience as a player, player-coach, coach and then academy head.


Said Lim: "Through our conversations with him, we believe that he is aligned in terms of the direction that we want to head towards for Singapore football and is the best person to further strengthen our football development structure."

Palatsides said he had a meeting with the coaches of the national youth teams, which he described as very productive. He told them he did not want to make "wholesale changes" and he told The Straits Times that he had no plans to bring in his own staff.

"I want to impart everything that I know to the local coaches, as the first port of call," he said.

"If there's something missing, that's something for myself and the general secretary to talk about.

"When I finish my tenure, I want to see that I've left the local coaches in a better state... That's part of the legacy I want to leave - that the local coaches are in a state of power throughout the whole system."

The FAS is also due to announce the new national coach before the next Fifa window next month.

Lim told ST on the sidelines of Thursday's press conference that it had completed contract negotiations with the incoming individual.

The position has been vacant since V. Sundram Moorthy stepped down in April last year, with Fandi Ahmad and Nazri Nasir filling in for the Suzuki Cup and the AirMarine Cup respectively.