FAS names Nazri Nasir as LionsXII assistant coach

FAS names Nazri Nasir as LionsXII assistant coach

They were part of the heralded Singapore side that won the Malaysian League and Malaysia Cup double in 1994.

Now, Fandi Ahmad and Nazri Nasir will come together again, leading the next generation of LionsXII into Malaysian club competitions.

Earlier this month, The New Paper had reported that Nazri was being lined up as the assistant coach of the LionsXII.

Just minutes before the 2014 LionsXII took to the field for their evening training session on the first day under Fandi, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) officially named Nazri as Fandi's assistant.

Fandi was appointed coach on Dec 7, taking over V Sundramoorthy, who led the LionsXII class of 2013 to the Malaysian Super League (MSL) title.


The team have been set the target of a top-three finish in the MSL and a place in a Cup final next year, but even with his former teammate on board, Fandi is under no illusions over the size of the task ahead.

Speaking on the sidelines of the field at the Singapore Sports School last night, Fandi spoke candidly.

Said the 51-year-old: "I'm happy that Nazri's joined us. We were teammates, and communication will be easy because we understand each other, but a job is a job, and we must do it right.

"It'll be very tough to achieve the target of a top-three finish and qualifying for a final of a cup competition - especially for a team that won the championship the season before."

Star names like Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak and Hariss Harun have left to play for Johor.

While Fandi is aware of the impact of losing players of that quality, he already has a plan.

"Defensively, most of the players are intact, but we are lacking in terms of attack," said the former Warriors FC coach.

"We need to find the right balance in the centre of midfield... and I have plans for Faris Ramli and Gabriel Quak."

Drawing from the modern tactical style where wingers are even more fluid, Fandi will look for more flexibility from his wide men, looking for them to drift inside the pitch and start attacking moves from there.

"The problem is that we will probably not have enough time for the players to fully understand what they need to do when we lose possession and need to defend," said the former Singapore captain.

Twenty-three players have signed for the LionsXII and one more - Courts Young Lions defender Emmeric Ong - is set to put pen to paper, but with 15 away on international duty with Aide Iskandar's South-east Asia Games squad, Fandi will only have around three weeks with his full squad before the 2014 season kicks off in mid-January.

"We've got players in the squad and we're already working on sharpening their finishing ability. I'm very excited, but at the same time worried because right now, I just don't have the players in training," he said.

Nazri, who previously coached the National Football Academy Under-15s, is looking forward to his new role.

"Despite the resource constraints, the FAS is making good progress, and will always look to improve, and I'm happy to be part of this team," said the 42-year-old former Singapore midfield star.

"It is a dream to work with Fandi as a coach...(he) has a bundle of experience, and I want to learn as much from him as possible." Despite the resource constraints, the FAS is making good progress, and will always look to improve, and I'm happy to be part of this team. - Nazri Nasir (above)

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