FAS should live up to its name by appointing Fandi And Sundram as coaches of the Lions
FAS = Fandi and Sundram. It's written in the stars.
In the second month of Singapore’s independence, there was a baby boy born in Sembawang who would grow up to do great things for our nation — both on and off the football pitch.
That infant was V. Sundramoorthy.
At the time of Sundram’s birth, there was a three-year-old boy who would grow up to become the Republic’s most famous footballer of all time. That toddler was Fandi Ahmad.
The first time the talented pair played a competitive international match together was against Malaysia in 1983. Fandi and Sundram each scored a goal in Singapore’s 2-1 victory, the Lions’ first-ever SEA Games triumph over the Tigers.
Now the duo will coach together.
Outstanding former players, now master tacticians
Sundram and Fandi have hung up their boots, but their passion for earning sporting glory for their native land still burns brightly.
Two years ago, Sundram guided the LionsXII to the summit of the Malaysia Super League, becoming the first Singaporean since Hussein Aljunied in 1985 to inspire an all-Singaporean side to successfully grab Malaysia’s top league trophy across the Causeway.
Fandi has also helped the LionsXII ‘steal’ a Malaysian silverware. A few days ago, the Singaporean team defeated Kelantan (who in 1980 broke Singapore’s unbeaten record in Malaysia Cup matches held at the National Stadium) 3-1, and so Malaysia’s FA Cup is now resting on Singaporean soil.
FAS’ competency of little use so far
Perhaps it’s time to consider Fandi and Sundram for the Lions hot seat currently held by 67-year-old Bernd Stange.
Despite his failure to guide Singapore past the group stage at last year’s ASEAN championship, the German senior citizen isn’t panicking yet because the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) doesn’t hire or fire like Real Madrid.
Although the FAS has shown signs of failure, it can also be very competent. The football body searches the whole wide world for supremely talented individuals to take the Lions to the next level. No messing around, no unturned stones, and no bias against non-Singaporeans when it comes to recruiting the Lions’ chief trainer.
But that competency has yet to pay dividends because none of FAS’ foreign, albeit highly qualified, coaches have been able to lead the Lions to the promised land of Asian football.
Poor investment calls for new measures
It’s time the FAS pays attention to the economics of hiring expensive foreign coaches.
Since Singapore is still stuck at the lowly regional level after all these years, with failure to regularly dominate fellow ASEAN teams, aren’t all the millions spent on overseas coaches a foolish investment?
Sundram’s 2013 league title win was much tougher to engineer than Fandi’s recent FA Cup triumph. I prefer Sundram for Singapore football’s top job, with Fandi assisting him.
They are, undoubtedly, the people’s choice too.
What does the FAS have to lose? With the Lions already plummeting down the world rankings, how much worse can they possibly get? Besides, Stange’s salary alone could even be enough to hire Singapore’s favourite pair of football personalities, a dynamic duo who were born to bring glory to our nation.
Michael Y.P. Ang is a Singaporean freelance journalist. He worked at the former Singapore Sports Council before covering local and international sports for Channel NewsAsia for several years. Follow his Facebook page Michael Ang Sports for his commentaries on Singaporean sport.
Top photo from Lions XII Facebook page.