|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
While the local football fraternity was abuzz with the announcement of Bernd Stange as the new national team head coach, Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin also announced the appointment of LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy as the head coach for the SEA Games squad on Wednesday evening at the same press conference.
Stange, who is on a two-year contract, will be working closely closely with Sundram and his assistant Aide Iskandar to prepare the SEA Games squad for the competition, which will take place at the end of the year.
The former Iraq and Belarus coach will also oversee the preparations for the 2015 SEA Games as Singapore strive to clinch the goal medal at the competition, which will be hosted on home soil.
“With his wealth of experience, Bernd will also play a key role in mentoring local coaches including V. Sundramoorthy and Aide Iskandar, and we hope that a local coach will be appointed as the national coach soon," Zainudin commented.
It is no surprise that Sundram was named to take charge of the nation's’ Under-23 squad, as Zainudin had said that he hoped the Malaysian Super League (MSL) would benefit the U23 players - most of whom are likely to represent Singapore at the SEA Games - during the unveiling of the LionsXII team earlier in the year.
“I am really happy to be given the opportunity this year to take our young players to the SEA games in Myanmar in December," Sundram said.
“Many of our young players are gaining the necessary experience ahead of the Games while playing against older and tougher opponents in the S.League and the Malaysian Super League.
“There are several plans, including centralized training programmes and participating in overseas competitions to better prepare the squad prior to the tournament.”
Sundram, who was named interim Singapore coach since Radojko Avramovich’s departure in December, is looking forward to taking a leaf out of the new coach's methods and help bring Singapore’s football a notch higher.
“I also hope to learn from Bernd, who has vast experience with a proven track record at the top international level with different countries in East Germany, Iraq and Belarus," he said.
“He has worked with many high-profile players, and our players will get to learn a lot under his guidance.
“I look forward to teaming up with Bernd to bring Singapore football to the next level.”
While Stange's first match in charge of the Lions will be the Causeway Challenge against arch rivals Malaysia in June, Sundram will lead a Singapore Selection against La Liga giants Atletico Madrid on May 22 for the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Charity Cup.