|By Teng Kiat
The Football Association of Singapore [FAS] officially announced last Friday that Radojko Avramovic would be leaving his post as Singapore coach at the end of 2012, after his contract had run out.
The Serbian was widely pilloried by supporters after a disastrous World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign in which Singapore lost all six group games in Round 3, but he leaves on a high after leading the Lions to a record fourth title in the recently-concluded 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup.
Goal.com Singapore spoke to a few fans for their take on Raddy’s departure, and all of them were unanimous in their appreciation of the 63-year-old’s contributions.
Arief Arep, founder of local supporters’ group Lions All The Way [LATW], hailed Raddy as Singapore’s “most successful” coach ever.
“As a fan, I am really grateful for what Raddy has done. He has given his life and although there were quite a few controversial team selections (or exclusions for that matter), I am just thankful for his contributions,” he said.
Supporter Mervin Tan thanked Raddy for staying on amidst the criticism, while Stanley Wong further emphasized his achievements.
“With limited resources, Raddy did wonders. He’s a shrewd tactician and considering that our talent pool is small compared to our neighbours’, [it is a superb achievement that] he won the [AFF] Cup three times,” Stanley explained.
Both Mervin and Stanley also expressed hope that the Serb would stay on in some capacity within Singapore football to help develop the local game further.
Another supporter, student Ng Boon Hong, praised Raddy’s “dedication and persistence” towards the game and the players, although fellow student Dominic Wong thought it was the right time for Raddy to step down.
“Despite being a great tactician, [I feel that] the local football scene needs some refreshment and changes. We thank his efforts and contributions… he needs to enjoy himself and have a good rest [for now],” Dominic said.
The FAS have indicated they have already embarked on a search to identify Raddy's successor, although a caretaker coach will be appointed in the event that the new coach is not installed in time for the AFC qualifiers on February 6 against Jordan.