Football: Raab right fit for the job?

Football: Raab right fit for the job?

He was brought in specifically to help make sure Singapore's footballers will be fighting-fit for their assault on the SEA Games gold medal in June.

But just three months into his appointment, questions are being asked about whether the squad's fitness coach Juergen Raab is the right man for the task.

The Straits Times understands that doubts have been raised within the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) about the German's training methods.

The fact that the 56-year-old is known more as a coach and not as a specialist fitness trainer has also been flagged.

Said a source: "Juergen knows the basic drills but that is because fitness training is part of the syllabus at coaching courses.

"All coaches must know the basic fitness stuff.

"But when you look at his CV, all these years, there is no mention of his track record as a fitness trainer.

"With the national team without any major tournaments next year, the SEA Games should take priority.

"The team are expected to at least make the final so shouldn't the best man be picked for the job?"

Raab, a former East Germany international midfielder, earned 20 caps from 1982-88, a period when current Singapore national team head coach Bernd Stange was in charge of East Germany.

His resume, which can be found online, shows he has worked with top German clubs like Borussia Moenchengladbach although the posts he held were that of assistant manager and manager.

Before joining the FAS, his last post was as the coach of German regional fourth-tier side FC Carl Zeiss Jena four years ago.

In contrast, the FAS also has national fitness coach Aleksandar Bozenko under its employment.

Appointed a decade ago, the Serb is a Fifa fitness instructor and familiar with the players.

However, he has been assigned to focus on the LionsXII team in the Malaysian Super League next year.

Added another source: "Sasha (Bozenko's nickname) has a strong track record over the years. He knows and understands many of the boys, having worked with them since they were young.

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