The fan favorite has succeeded title-winning V. Sundramoorthy as the new man in charge after penning a three-year contract to take over at the Malaysian Super League sideIt is official: Fandi Ahmad is the new coach of the LionsXII.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) confirmed on Saturday night that the former Singapore international has succeeded V. Sundramoorthy, who led the LionsXII to the Malaysian Super League (MSL) title last season.
Fandi, who led noveau-riche Johor Darul Takzim to third in the MSL and a runners-up finish in the Malaysia Cup last year, has signed a three-year contract with the option of extending for another two years.
The 51-year-old, long regarded as Singapore's favorite footballing son, was revealed to have been offered the post by FAS last week, after the association went through a pool of over 70 applicants.
Fandi holds the AFC Pro Diploma Coaching License, the highest coaching certification in Asia, led Singapore Armed Forces FC (SAFFC, now Warriors FC) to two S.League titles in 2000 and 2002. He was also assistant coach when Singapore won the 2005 Tiger Cup (now AFF Suzuki Cup) and brought the Young Lions to third place in both the 2004 and 2006 S.League seasons.
The former FC Groningen player, who famously netted against Inter Milan in a Uefa Cup game (now Europa League), described himself as "delighted and honoured" to be chosen.
"I know from experience that it will not be easy for the league champions to defend the title," Fandi said in a FAS statement.
"Having said that, I am happy that we have a strong team, which includes at least 15 players who have been capped at the international level. The composition of the team – including both players and backroom staff, coupled with the support from my colleagues and stakeholders, has given me confidence that we can secure a top three placing in the league.
"We will also try our best to reach the final of a Cup competition next season."
FAS general secretary hailed Fandi's "wealth of experience" and believes the appointment is in line with the implementation of the FAS Strategic Plan.
"In line with our coaching development pathway, national team head coach Bernd Stange will also be working closely with Fandi on areas pertaining to football and coaching development," Lee stated.
"We believe Fandi will benefit from the wealth of experience and knowledge that Bernd has, and this will further enhance his development as a coach.”
Midfielder Isa Halim also expressed his excitement at the prospect of working with someone well-known for his attacking style of football.
"He (Fandi) is a coach who is always looking to share his ideas and is, at the same time, always open to feedback from the players," he said.
“In addition to his status as one of our top footballers, Fandi has a good coaching record and he knows the players well. We look forward to learning from and working with him to achieve more successes.”
Fandi commences work on December 12 and his first task will be to get the better of Pahang FA in the 2014 MSL curtain-raiser Charity Cup match on January 17.