Ng sees 'much potential' in local women's football

Former national goalkeeper Stephen Ng is the new Lionesses head coach after signing a two-year deal.
Former national goalkeeper Stephen Ng is the new Lionesses head coach after signing a two-year deal.PHOTO: FAS

New Lionesses head coach Stephen Ng hopes to build the team into a unit who 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 yesterday 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 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 December 2019.

Ng said: "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, he also wants to focus on growing the number of women coaches and accelerating the development of local female youth players.

"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 South-east Asia and subsequently Asia in the years to come," said Ng, who holds an AFC professional diploma, the highest level of coaching accreditation issued by the Asian football body.

Ng, who 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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2021, with the headline 'Ng sees 'much potential' in local women's football'. Subscribe