Football: 'Singapore my second home', says Edwards

Football: 'Singapore my second home', says Edwards

It was a whirlwind 24-hour visit, but Alistair Edwards experienced enough here to remind him of just how much he missed Singapore.

The Australian, a former Malaysia Cup striker for the Lions in 1990 and 1993, was in town last month with Astro Arena to commentate on the LionsXII-Pahang Malaysian Super League match.

Before and after the game at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the 45-year-old signed autographs and spoke to old teammates.

They all had the same question for him - would he come back here and coach?

"I've always been planning to come back to Singapore, it's my second home," said Edwards, who once struck up a famous strike partnership with Abbas Saad for the Lions.

"I'm just deciding on the right time. There are a number of coaching opportunities for me in Malaysia and Australia, but nothing from Singapore, yet.

"I do miss the time I spent here. It was fantastic coming back and seeing old friends."

Edwards hung up his boots in 2002, at the age of 34, and began his coaching career with the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), starting out as the assistant coach of the women's Under-20 side in 2004.

He went on to become the assistant technical director and coach for the FFA youth teams from 2007 to 2012.

The former Australian international made a foray into the A-League when he took charge of Perth Glory in 2012.

He was sacked after 11 months when he fell out with several players as well as Perth Glory owner, Tony Sage.

"It was a disagreement with the chairman over the direction of the club," explained Edwards, who holds an AFC pro coaching licence.

"When I joined the club, the clear direction was to blood youngsters from Western Australia.

"I did that, but the senior players didn't like losing their places in the team. They protested to the chairman, and I was made to leave in the end."

For the past four months, Edwards has been busy with political projects for the state government of Perth.

He tried his hand at politics in 2001 and was elected as a city councillor for Cockburn City Council.

He is also working part-time for Astro with their coverage of the MSL.

"I'm enjoying the work I'm doing for Astro. It allows me to come back to this region, get reacquainted with the Malaysian league and meet up with old mates," said Edwards, who resides in Perth with his Singaporean wife, Gracie, and their four children.

PARTNERING ABBAS

"I was reunited with Abbas on Astro the other day and people were saying we were great together on air as well."

The job on television is just a temporary one, though, because Edwards wants to get back into football.

"The current FFA technical director is leaving his post in June, so that's a position I'm looking at," he said.

"I love coaching, but I'm also more of a long-term strategy person. I like implementing the overall structure and helping with league development.

"That's the kind of work I'd love to do in Singapore some day, if the opportunity ever arises."

This article was published on May 11 in The New Paper.

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