SINGAPORE- One day after he was officially named as coach of the reigning Malaysian Super League champions, Fandi is already trying to fill up his player roster for next season.
The 51-year-old has already inquired on the availability of Tampines Rovers' duo goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma'at and midfield schemer Shahdan Sulaiman, who was approached earlier but decided to stay with the Stags.
But reigning three-time S-League champions Tampines have already registered their players for next season's AFC Champions League campaign, and the pair are staying put.
"We can give and take - we allowed Shahdan to speak to the LionsXII earlier, but that didn't work out, and we've already signed and registered our players," said Tampines chairman Teo Hock Seng.
"We are not reversing our decision."
While Richard Bok - the S-League's most decorated coach - and former Singapore teammate, Nazri Nasir, have been touted as possible candidates to be Fandi's No. 2, the former Singapore captain is right now focused only on completing his squad.
"The most important thing right now is to concentrate on finding players, there's no real hurry to search for an assistant coach," Fandi told The New Paper yesterday.
"By the time the South-east Asia (SEA) Games is over, we'll probably have only about three weeks for pre-season, instead of the usual six to eight weeks.
"And we have to approach this very carefully."
The LionsXII have already signed 19 players - including Isa Halim, Safuwan Baharudin and Khairul Amri - for next year's competitions in Malaysia.
Of the 19, 15 players are in Aide Iskandar's SEA Games squad doing battle in Myanmar.
Fandi is looking to sign at least "four to five more players", but he knows he faces a race against time to get the players he wants.
"I checked on Hyrulnizam and Shahdan, but they've signed (with Tampines) and we must respect that contract.