|By Bhas Kunju
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced today that long-serving Singapore coach Radojko 'Raddy' Avramovic will be leaving his post at the end of the year upon the end of his contract.
Raddy had previously made clear in a press conference prior to the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup final second leg in Bangkok that he had not changed his mind on leaving.
Raddy was appointed as national team coach in 2003 and oversaw Singapore's most successful period in a near decade-long career, with the Lions lifting the AFF Championships on three occasions and making headway in Asian Cup and World Cup qualifiers.
The decision for his departure was apparently made at a recent meeting with both parties mutually agreeing on bringing in a new coach with Raddy also not seeking a second contract renewal.
Expressing his appreciation for the contributions of Avramovic, FAS President Zainudin Nordin said: “Since joining us in 2003, Coach Raddy has served us well and faithfully. Apart from the victorious AFF Cup campaigns in 2004, 2007 and 2012, Raddy has also done well to spot many young talented players and provide ample opportunities for them to cement their place in the National Team.
“Coach Raddy has played an integral role in the development of football over the past decade and I would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to Raddy for his selfless dedication and hard work. We are pleased that he has met both the targets FAS set for him in 2011/12: To qualify for the third round of the FIFA 2014 World Cup Asian Qualifiers and to reach the final of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup.”
The 63-year-old Avramovic also shared his views in a press circular: “I am thankful to have the full support of President Zainudin Nordin, General Secretary Winston Lee, FAS management and colleagues, both past and present, throughout my tenure as national coach. They have always done their best to fulfil the national team’s requirements and requests, whenever possible.
“I am also heartened to note that Singapore football has progressed well over the years, especially in terms of youth development. I would also like to thank the stakeholders including the S.League clubs, media and the fans for their well-wishes and support over the past nine years, and I wish the Lions all the very best.
"It is important that all stakeholders continue to work together as a team for the good of Singapore football, especially since we have in place the Strategic Plan and a comprehensive setup which will raise the various aspects of local football, including the National Team, to the next level.”
FAS also announced that it is engaging the services of a leading international sports talent recruitment firm, Sports Recruitment International, to widen on-going efforts to recruit the next national coach.