Fans fancy Fandi and Bok for LionsXII coaching job

Fans fancy Fandi and Bok for LionsXII coaching job
LionsXII football players for the 2013 season.

THE wait is nearly over.

Before the week is out, the question of who will replace V.Sundramoorthy as LionsXII coach will finally be answered.

A month has gone by since applications closed and a spokesman for the Football Association of Singapore yesterday reiterated that "we expect to make an announcement on the appointment before the end of November".

Speculation has been rife that out of over 70 applicants, the two front runners for the post are Fandi Ahmad and Richard Bok. They worked together successfully - Fandi as coach, Bok as his assistant - at Singapore Armed Forces FC (now known as Warriors FC) between 2000 and 2003, leading the team to two S-League titles.

And having played under them in the first of those four seasons, former national captain Nazri Nasir believes that either would be a suitable pick.

"They each have their strengths," said the 42-year-old who coaches the FAS' National Football Academy.

Perhaps, more importantly, he added, neither will have any trouble commanding respect either on or off the pitch.

"Fandi is a household name," Nazri said of his former teammate, who went on to lead the Young Lions to two third-placed finishes in the S-League before spells in Indonesia and Malaysia.

"The fans will come to see him and the players will all look up to him as a role model."

Bok, meanwhile, is the S-League's most successful coach with four league titles and three Singapore Cup triumphs.

"He's a winner and the players will respect that," Nazri said.

Straits Times readers yesterday took to Facebook to weigh in on the matter, with many calling for Fandi's appointment.

"I like Richard but Fandi is always special to Singapore football," said Jonanthan Yoona. Added Fatimah Alwi: "He will bring players and supporters together."

There were, however, others who pointed to a more impressive coaching resume as reason for Bok to be given the nod.

Perhaps the best solution, as has been suggested in some online discussions, would be a reprisal of the duo's partnership at SAFFC.

"Fandi will guarantee a fan following and his experience of coaching in the Malaysian league will come in handy," Dennis Check said. "Meanwhile Richard's success means that he has all the credentials to be a key member of the LionsXII coaching staff."

fabiusc@sph.com.sg


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