SINGAPORE - The next LionsXII coach has been chosen, but fans will have to wait a few more days at least for his public unveiling.
A spokesman for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said on Saturday night that a decision has been made on V. Sundramoorthy's replacement, and a formal offer would be made to the individual "as part of the final phase of the recruitment and selection process".
"FAS hopes to present the new coach by next week, and will issue a further update in due course."
In a brief statement, she added that three "equally-qualified" candidates were interviewed and considered from the initial pool of more than 70 applicants.
The two front-runners to helm the Malaysian Super League (MSL) champions are believed to be former national captain Fandi Ahmad (in photo above) and four-time S-League winning coach Richard Bok. The third candidate is believed to be a foreigner.
Last week, an FAS spokesman said that an announcement on the appointment would be made "before the end of November".
Both Fandi, 51, and Bok, 44, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
The duo 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.
Online forums have been abuzz with the prospect of the partnership rekindling. But it is understood that this scenario is unlikely, not only for financial reasons.
Said one insider: "I can't see Richard, the most successful coach in S-League history, wanting to be a No. 2 again, even if it is to Fandi."
A month has gone by since applications closed for the job of replacing Sundram, who will helm second-tier outfit Negeri Sembilan next season.
FAS general secretary Winston Lee, national coach Bernd Stange and national technical director Slobodan Pavkovic were on the selection panel. It is believed that six short-listed candidates, including Fandi and Bok, took a written test set by Stange, 65.
The LionsXII kick off their campaign on Jan 17 in the Charity Shield against Malaysia Cup holders Pahang - which will also serve as both teams' MSL opener.
While the match in Kuantan will be decided on penalties if it ends in a draw, the result after 90 minutes will be counted in the league.
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