In his 10 years as Singapore football's ringmaster, Radojko Avramovic has worked with numerous local coaches.
The 65-year-old had Fandi Ahmad as his assistant coach for the victorious 2004 Tiger Cup campaign.
He linked up with V Sundramoorthy when the "Dazzler" was appointed caretaker coach after the Serb was hit with a four-match ban during the World Cup qualifiers last year.
Both tasted success as coach of the LionsXII, with Sundram winning the 2013 Malaysian Super League title, while Fandi delivered the Malaysian FA Cup last Saturday.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Avramovic believes Fandi should be the man for the job when current national football coach Bernd Stange eventually calls time on his tenure.
Avramovic, now coach of Myanmar, said: "Fandi has made a really good result from a totally different situation with the LionsXII.
"This achievement is something special and it is a good sign of his abilities."
Fandi and Sundram were both named as Stange's assistants yesterday, ahead of the national squad's departure for Bangladesh tomorrow for an international friendly as the Lions prepare for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Cambodia and Japan.
Avramovic felt Fandi's achievement with the LionsXII while shorn of stars like Shahril Ishak, Baihakki Khaizan, Hariss Harun and Shahdan Sulaiman, placed the national job in the 52-year-old's favour.
"When Sundram took over the LionsXII in 2012, many of the players in the team were senior players with the national team, and in some ways, they were expected to win something, which they did by winning the Malaysian Super League in 2013," said Avramovic.
"Fandi, on the other hand, had to rebuild the team after Sundram and many of the key senior players left at the start of last year or before this season.
"And still he managed to build a team that were able to win the FA Cup."
Avramovic, whose contract with Myanmar runs out in July, was coy about whether he would be keen to return to Singapore, where he delivered a record three ASEAN titles.
"In football, never say never. Time will tell," he said. "But, at the moment, I will be concentrating on Myanmar's two upcoming World Cup qualifiers."
While he admitted that Fandi didn't agree with him on everything, and that the situation sometimes got heated, Avramovic insisted it was part of the game.
"Differences in opinions must exist in football because it is impossible for two coaches to see one player in the exact same way," said Avramovic.
"Sometimes, discussions were heated but, between Fandi and I, they were always constructive because we had a common target.
"He knew I was trying to rebuild a team for the future, and he also understood how to be flexible, and how to work as a team to achieve what was best for the team."
German Stange, 67, was appointed Singapore coach in 2013.
He came under intense fire after the Lions fluffed badly last November in their defence of the Suzuki Cup - not even emerging from the group phase - and it is uncertain if the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) will renew his contract when it ends in August.
Avramovic did not want to be drawn into whether it was time for the local coach to take over the Lions' team, saying: "It is not fair for me to say whether or not it is time for Singapore to have a local coach now, because the FAS is run by responsible people, and I trust them to make the right call."
This article was first published on May 27, 2015.
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