'Fandi off target': What the FAS says

'Fandi off target': What the FAS says
Hottest combination: Coach Fandi Ahmad calls Baihakki (above,left) and Safuwan (above, left) “the best defensive partnership in this region”.

We refer to the commentary "Fandi Off Target" (TNP, Aug 20, 2014) and would like to present our views to the readers.

An article ("Aide to be SEA Games coach") in The New Paper published in early April had quoted national teams head coach Bernd Stange and Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar as saying that the latter would be leading the 2015 SEA Games team.

Hence, there should not be any query or doubt as to the identity of the coach for the 2015 SEA Games.

As widely reported in recent weeks, including a report in The New Paper ("SNOC: Bahrain win not enough"), the Singapore National Olympic Council's (SNOC) final list of athletes participating at the 2014 Asian Games had to be submitted to the Korean organisers on Aug 15.

Following the positive outcome of our appeal last week, FAS duly completed and submitted the list of players and officials, including the head coach, to SNOC.

FAS had earlier decided that Stange would lead the Asian Games squad and hence, he led the team to Bahrain where we defeated their Under-23 side two weeks ago.

Like other associations in the final phase of preparations for upcoming competitions, FAS has in place a schedule which includes the announcement of the squad.

To suggest, in any way, that the association did not manage this matter well would not be right.

We would also like to point out that Stange's involvement in these competitions is neither new nor surprising.

Upon his appointment as national teams head coach in May 2013, we had publicly announced that Stange would oversee the preparations for the 2013 and 2015 editions of the SEA Games as well as to play a key role in mentoring local coaches.

As for the LionsXII's participation in the Malaysian Super League, it has always been our aim to seek a judicious balance between development and competitiveness. Hence, our LionsXII squad are one of the youngest teams in the MSL this year.

Like our players and technical staff, we are disappointed that we did not manage to secure a top-three placing.

However, we are heartened and encouraged by the development of several young players, including Zulfahmi Arifin, Gabriel Quak, Shahfiq Ghani, Madhu Mohana and Faris Ramli, who not only recorded more playing time this season but have also progressed to becoming key players of the national team which will be participating in key tournaments such as the Suzuki Cup.

Like any other teams participating in key competitions, the LionsXII technical team submitted its mid-season report following the conclusion of the Malaysian Super League.

FAS is studying the report and will adopt the necessary actions to make improvements in the relevant areas.

We will continue to support and work closely with our technical and backroom staff, including those from the LionsXII, to fulfil our footballing objectives.

Going forward, we hope that the media and fans will continue to support local football and work with us to continuously raise our standards in all aspects.

This article was published on Aug 23 in The New Paper.

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