'At least half a year to rebuild Singapore national team' - Bernd Stange

Despite early wins for the new Singapore coach, his first competitive fixture failed to get fans excited, something Stange believes needs more time and effort
Singapore's continued preparations for the Asian Cup qualification stages continues next week as the Lions take on China and Hong Kong on September 6 and 10 respectively.

Both away games, especially the first against China will prove to be crucial for the developing Singapore side according to coach Bernd Stange, when he spoke to the media following the recent defeat to Oman.

With the Lions falling short in the Asian Cup qualifier and failing to even get a shot on target against an opposition who were not playing to their best, there is still understandable concern amongst fans that the change in leadership has not been reaping rewards.

But the former Belarus manager believes that it will take considerable time before fans can start seeing a changed Singapore side, and one that will be playing at the 'next level'.

"What we need is time and good plannig for the future and to follow our strategy which we have," said the East German.

"We have a clear philosophy and a clear strategy that all teams follow the way to international standard and you cannot do it in a very short time.

"After my experience of 132 international caps (managing), to build a national team takes at least, at least, half a year. At least.

"And I've had a very short time here and we will continue until the end of the year and we will come with our strategy and our plans on how we will run the nationall teams and all the other [age-group] teams."

Having introduced 19-year-old Anumanthan against Oman and also given exposure to Shahfiq Ghani, Stange added that the players represented Singapore's future, but they are not quite ready for the 'next level' yet.

"We are looking for more potential players, fast players; but it takes time, it takes time definitely," he said reemphasising the need for patience.

"I'm an optimist and I've seen these players in our country. But we have to make programmes for them; to control them, to build them up to the next level. And I know what we have to do in planning, in training, in philosophy, to find more support for this kind of football, winning football."

TEDA Football Stadium in Nanjing will play host to the Lions' visit on September 6, while the Hong Kong fixture will be held at Mong Kok Stadium.

Singapore last played Hong Kong in a friendly on August 15, 2012, beating them 2-0, but lost 1-0 in an away fixture in June earlier that year.

China meanwhile, beat Singapore 4-0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in a World Cup Qualification match in November 2011, and 2-1 in the reverse fixture in September of the same year at Kunming Tuodong.