By Bhas Kunju
Former Netherlands international Arie Haan who has managed across Europe, Africa and Asia over a career spanning almost three decades is believed to be the frontrunner for the Singapore hotseat.
With the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) still remaining tight-lipped over the selection process and several other media agencies having thrown up names of potential candidates, fans have remained in the dark over who the successor for Radojko Avramovic will be.
Arie Haan's candidacy was first brought to Goal Singapore's attention a few months ago, with sources close to the former Dutch international confirming that a formal application was made in January and again in February, although at that point in time no response from FAS was forthcoming.
However, it is now believed that Haan is one of the leading candidates.
Haan was part of the formidable Netherlands side of the 1970s that reached two consecutive Fifa World Cup Finals. Playing as a defensive midfielder, he is most fondly remembered for his 40-yard strike against Italy in the group stages of the 1978 Fiifa World Cup.
A product of the famed Total Football side of Ajax Amsterdam, Haan went on to play in Belgium before finishing his career in Asia with Hong Kong's Seiko SA.
His managerial career has seen him take hold of top European sides like Anderlecht, Stuttgart and Feyenoord but Haan also has vast experience with international sides having coached China, Cameroon and Albania in the last 10 years.
Recent media reports had identified the leading candidate as someone with experience in Asia and at the international level, and sources close to FAS have also reiterated the same criteria.
Haan was last at Chinese Super League side Shenyang Shenbei, having spent the last fours years coaching three different clubs in the competition, but is currently unattached.
Another early frontrunner for the post is believed to be former Tanjong Pagar player Dragan Talajic, whose lack of experience at the international level is likely a stumbling block.
Other candidates who have previously been mentioned have since fallen out of the race and these include Italian Mario Beretta, former Real Madrid coach Benito Floro, both of whom having received rejection letters from FAS, and Peter Withe, whose agent confirmed that he was never in the running.
FAS have not set a deadline for announcing the next Singapore coach. LionsXII's V.Sundramoorthy still serves as the interim coach for the national side.