In a bid to raise the Young Lions' fitness levels so that they can last the distance at next year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games, where they are gunning for gold, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has signed former East German international Juergen Raab on a one-year contract.
The 55-year-old, who has a Fifa Pro Licence, is hired primarily as a fitness coach for now, but may take on other coaching duties later.
His immediate task is to work with national team head coach Bernd Stange and his assistant coach Aide Iskandar for the national Under-23 team in their preparations, especially in the area of fitness, for the SEA Games next year.
"I am delighted to be joining the FAS," said Raab in a press release.
"It was an easy decision to join the FAS as I am impressed by the professionalism of the management and its strategic plan in place.
"I look forward to doing my part for Singapore football."
Raab has had coaching experience at numerous clubs such as Turkish side Bursaspor (2000-2001) and FC Nuremberg (2005-2008) where he won the 2007 German Cup as assistant coach.
Having represented the former East Germany from 1982 to 1988, Raab has 20 caps and two international goals.
Raab was also a one-club man during his playing days, clocking 376 appearances and 120 goals for FC Carl Zeiss Jena from 1976 to 1993, finishing runners-up in the 1981 Uefa Cup Winners' Cup.
The former midfielder will be reunited with Stange for whom he had played for while with East Germany (1984-1988) and FC Carl Zeiss Jena (1988-1991).
"I am delighted with the appointment of Juergen, who has an excellent reputation in Europe and is recommended by top coaches like Hans Meyer," said Stange.
"His extensive experience at the highest level of European football, both as a professional player and coach, will definitely aid us in our quest for more success on the field."
Meanwhile, the FAS and Sports Hub Pte Ltd confirmed yesterday that the Lions will play all their AFF Suzuki Cup group games - against Thailand on Nov 23, Myanmar (Nov 26) and against Malaysia (Nov 29) - at the National Stadium, while the other three Group B games will be played at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The 55,000-seater's abillity to host the Suzuki Cup had come under scrutiny after The New Paper reported on Oct 9 that the National Stadium's hosting of the Jay Chou concert and a rugby friendly contravened the AFF's minimum 15-day requirement for the pitch to "rest" before the start of the Suzuki Cup.
The concert was subsequently rescheduled from Nov 8 to Dec 27 while the sandy state of the pitch led to the cancellation of the rugby friendly between the Maori All Blacks and the Asia Pacific Dragons originally scheduled on Nov 15.
"We are grateful to the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) for their approval to host the Suzuki Cup in Singapore and to the Singapore Sports Hub for doing their best in ensuring optimal playing conditions for our group-stage matches," said FAS president Zainudin Nordin.
"All stakeholders have made extensive efforts for this to happen and we are looking forward to playing in front of 55,000 fans at our National Stadium and bringing back the Kallang Roar."
SportsHub Pte Ltd's chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik added: "On behalf of everyone at Sports Hub, we are pleased with AFF's decision to host three out of the five group games at the National Stadium.
"While we continue to optimise pitch recovery before the first game against Thailand on Nov 23, we look forward to welcoming football fans from across the region to come and experience ASEAN's most prestigious football tournament at Asia's leading sports, entertainment and lifestyle destination."
This article was first published on Oct 31, 2014.
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