FAS picks Takayuki Nishigaya as new Lions head coach, but some S'pore football fans voice discontent

Nishigaya is a former J-League player.

Syahindah Ishak | April 26, 2022, 01:41 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

Former J-League player Takayuki Nishigaya has been appointed as the new head coach for Singapore men's national football team.

The announcement was made by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Monday (Apr. 25).

According to FAS, Nishigaya will officially assume his role in May 2022. He is currently finalising the necessary paperwork to travel to Singapore.

Former Singapore player Nazri Nasir, who was the interim coach for the national team in the 2022 FAS Tri-Nation Series, will now be the team's assistant coach.

Koichiro Iizuka will be the staff coach and analyst.

Both Nazri and Iizuka have worked with Lions' previous head coach Tatsuma Yoshida.

Speaking about his appointment, Nishigaya said:

"It is my aim to build on the progress that [Tatsuma] has made and, in that regard, the expertise and knowledge of Nazri – a former Singapore captain who commands the respect of the team – and Koichiro will be key to helping us achieve that.

Together with the strong support from the fans and other stakeholders, I will give my all to help bring Singapore football forward."

His background

Nishigaya, 48, is a former player who represented Japan's Under-22 national team as a defender.

He started his club career in the J1 League with Nagoya Grampus Eight, before moving on to Avispa Fukuoka, Verdy Kawasaki, and JEF United Ichihara.

He eventually moved to J2 League club Albirex Niigata in 2001 before retiring as a player and embarking a new career as a coach.

Nishigaya holds a Japan Football Association (JFA) S Coaching Licence, which is equivalent to an Asian Football Confederation Pro Licence.

In 2004, he was a youth coach at Tokyo Verdy. He eventually became the youth head coach before he left in 2009.

He moved on to be an assistant head coach at Albirex Niigata in 2012, and at Mito Hollyhock in 2013.

He was later promoted to head coach at Mito Hollyhock in 2015.

Nishigaya subsequently became the head coach of SC Sagamihara, before moving on to become the Under-18 head coach for Matsumoto Yamaga.

In 2020, he became the first-team assistant coach at Matsumoto Yamaga.

Some Singapore fans were not happy

Unfortunately for Nishigaya, the announcement of his appointment was met with outrage from some Singapore fans.

Based on comments posted online, a number of fans felt that Nishigaya does not have enough credentials to be the Lions' new head coach.

Some also pointed out that Nishigaya has not coached outside of Japan before, and has no experience coaching an international side.

Screenshot taken from FAS' Facebook post.

Screenshot taken from FAS' Facebook post.

Screenshot taken from FAS' Facebook post.

Screenshot taken from FAS' Facebook post.

Screenshot taken from FAS' Facebook post.

Despite this, there were a few comments that called out the fans for being too reactive and pessimistic.

Screenshot taken from FAS' Facebook post.

Screenshot taken from FAS' Facebook post.

Some also decided to remain optimistic and reserve their judgement.

Screenshot taken from FAS' Facebook post.

Screenshot taken from FAS' Facebook post.

"Highly recommended" by JFA Technical Committee

According to FAS, Nishigaya was "highly recommended" by the JFA Technical Committee.

Its Deputy Technical Director Takeshi Ono said that Nishigaya's "vast experience" will contribute to the success of the Singapore national team.

FAS President Lim Kia Tong said that Nishigaya was chosen after a "rigorous recruitment process".

Lim added:

"We knew that Tatsuma had left some big shoes to fill, and it was imperative that we found the best candidate who had the required character and attributes to succeed him. We believe that Nishigaya is exactly that and we are confident he can take on the challenge of continuing to make our Lions roar."

Tatsuma Yoshida urges fans to support Nishigaya

On Tuesday (Apr. 26) morning, FAS uploaded a video of former Lions head coach Tatsuma Yoshida.

In the video, Yoshida urges Singapore fans to show support for Nishigaya as he assumes his new role.

Yoshida said:

"I want to see and hear that Singapore football is doing well. This is why, when I was told that Takayuki Nishigaya-san, who is my friend, was chosen to replace me as Singapore football coach, I felt happy because I know Singapore will have a coach who will want the team to succeed as much as I do.


As you remember, when I first became Singapore head coach in 2019, at the end of May, I asked all of you to have belief in the players and the team and me, and together, we will succeed. And now, I ask you to give the same level of support and more... and more to Nishigaya as he takes on this very important role. Nishigaya is a very hard working, dedicated coach. And I know he'll give his best effort to help Singapore football be successful."

You can watch the full video here:

Follow and listen to our podcast here:

Top image by Matsumoto Yamaga FC.