Trust in players crucial: Nazri

Singapore assistant coach Nazri Nasir with the Lions squad during training at Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday. He says his short stint as caretaker coach was a good learning experience.
Singapore assistant coach Nazri Nasir with the Lions squad during training at Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday. He says his short stint as caretaker coach was a good learning experience.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

He will assist new Lions handler, armed with local knowledge and stint as interim coach

There is no secret in motivating footballers.

Just one simple word - trust - captures Nazri Nasir's management philosophy. This is what he tried to instil during his short stint in charge of Singapore during March's AirMarine Cup in Malaysia.

The former national football captain said: "I fully believe in them.

"I told them when you're selected to be part of this team, it's because I trust you.

"When they're called on in the game, even if it's just five minutes, I trust that they will give their 100 per cent and, when they're given a chance, they will do well."

The Lions, their morale low after failing to qualify for the semi-finals of last November's AFF Suzuki Cup for the third time running, responded with some creditable performances at the friendly quadrangular tournament.

In Kuala Lumpur, they beat the hosts 1-0 and held Oman to a 1-1 draw before losing 5-4 on penalties.

Nazri, 48, who was recently appointed assistant to new national coach Tatsuma Yoshida, said: "They responded to me very well and I always try to win the players' trust, that's the most important thing and it showed during the AirMarine Cup.

MUCH TO LEARN

His (Nazri's) role will be very crucial as the middleman between players and coaches. He also has a lot of experience to impart and, with Yoshida's time in Japan with various clubs, we need to adapt as fast as we can.

 HARISS HARUN, Singapore captain, on the partnership of new Lions coach Tatsuma Yoshida and assistant Nazri Nasir.

"I hope they can continue the momentum and that's where I come in also to motivate the players.

"It was a good experience to get to know the players better. Now, I can help him (Yoshida) get to know them as well by sharing their mentality, strengths and weaknesses.

"With his coaching ideas and me, as I can interact with players easily and understand them better, these will blend together to build a good chemistry in the team."

He and Yoshida face their first test as a partnership in the coming days. The Republic, ranked 160th, face the Solomon Islands (world No. 139) and Myanmar (140) on Saturday and next Tuesday.

The friendlies at the National Stadium were arranged to help Singapore gain crucial Fifa ranking points for a potentially better draw in July for the World Cup qualifiers.

Singapore captain Hariss Harun said Nazri, who skippered the Lions to victory at the 1998 AFF Championship, is an important presence in the national set-up.

Hariss noted: "His role will be very crucial as the middleman between players and coaches.

"He also has a lot of experience to impart and, with Yoshida's time in Japan with various clubs (Kashiwa Reysol, Albirex Niigata and Ventforet Kofu), we need to adapt as fast as we can.

"Our results at the AirMarine Cup gave us a lot of confidence so we just have to try to continue that momentum. We have a new coach too so the boys are eager to show what we have.

"I hope this will translate to a good performance in the coming games."

After Nazri retired in 2008, he joined his former club Tampines Rovers as general manager and was later an assistant coach for the now-defunct LionsXII and Young Lions.

He said: "Yoshida brings different ideas and playing styles.

"He's very detailed and requires high intensity.

"He wants to bring Singapore to a higher level. With his guidance and my local experience, I'm sure we can help the team improve. "

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'Trust in players crucial: Nazri'. Print Edition | Subscribe