New Singapore coach prioritises AFF Suzuki Cup

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A semi-final berth in AFF Suzuki Cup is among the immediate priorities of new Singapore national football caretaker-coach, V Sundramoorthy.

Sundramoorthy, who the Football Association of Singapore signed on a one-year contract earlier this week, will resign from his post as head coach of the Tampines Rovers.

“I am confident that we will perform well at the year-end Suzuki Cup. My initial target is a place in the semi-finals. I’m not looking at the length of the contract but I’m looking at this more as an opportunity that comes around once in a lifetime,” he said.

“Coaches are often measured by results and the duration of the contract makes little difference. Both FAS and I are happy with this one-year deal, which ends next May.”

The 50-year-old boasted a formidable playing international and club career through the 1980s and 90s, including a lucrative stint with Swiss outfit FC Basel, before mentoring the now-defunct LionsXII in the Malaysia Super League.

He later coached Negeri Sembilan, but a poor Malaysia Premier League campaign in 2014 – and subsequent failure to qualify for the Malaysia Cup – led to his dismissal.

“This is indeed a very special day as we announce the appointment of our caretaker-coach who will lead the national team,” said FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong.

“During the past few months, we have received applications from many qualified applicants around the world, including several who have excelled at international level and clinched league titles in top professional leagues.

“After much deliberation, the executive committee of FAS has decided to appoint a local coach and we are delighted to announce that Sundramoorthy will be the next coach to lead the national team.”

Sundramoorthy succeeds the outgoing Bernd Stange, whose tenure ended with a 2-1 defeat to Afghanistan in late April’s World Cup-qualifying fixture.

“During the panel interview, Sundram demonstrated a lot of hunger to be the national coach. He has demonstrated strong conviction and belief in himself to lead the national team, as well as in the players that are available to him,” added Kia Tong.