Bojan Hodak wants S'pore national team coaching job

He was passed over for the Malaysia national team job in January, with Ong Kim Swee getting the nod for "having more experience with international matches".

Bojan Hodak now wants to be Singapore coach, and believes he can deliver more than a big-name foreign coach.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Hodak said: "I have not met anyone from the FAS (Football Association of Singapore) officially on this but, yes, I am interested in the Singapore job."

The former Johor Darul Ta'zim and Kelantan coach is in Singapore for a family holiday.

The New Paper understands that his resume has already been sent to FAS officials by a third party.

Previous Singapore coach Bernd Stange oversaw his last game in charge when the Lions fell 2-1 to Afghanistan in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday and the FAS is in the midst of looking for a replacement.

"I'm not sure what its (FAS) plan is - if it is looking for a local coach or a foreign coach - but, if it does decide to bring in a foreign coach, I think I can bring something to the table," asserted the 44-year-old Croat, who comes with impressive credentials.

Hodak, who played in the S.League in the 1990s, guided Kelantan to the Malaysian Super League (MSL), FA Cup and Malaysia Cup treble in a stunning triumph in 2012.

Kelantan retained the FA Cup the following year, but were pipped to the league title by a V Sundramoorthy-led LionsXII side.

Moving south to Johor Darul Ta'zim in 2014, Hodak won the MSL title at the first time of asking, with Singapore international midfielder Hariss Harun a key part of the team.

Hodak has also served as head coach of Cambodian side Phnom Penh Crown and assistant coach at Chinese club Shandong Luneng.


"Understanding the culture of a place, the good and bad habits in its football, this is a job that takes one year for a new foreign coach. He will start thinking about opponents only in his second year," said Hodak, who first came to the region in 1997 when he turned out for Balestier Central in the S.League.

"But I know football in this region, I know Singapore football."

Hodak also turned out for another Singapore club in the late 1990s - Jurong FC, alongside current Tampines Rovers coach Sundram.

The duo have remained friends from their time at Jurong, and even as rival coaches on the touchline.

Several in the football fraternity here have called for a local coach to helm the Lions, with Sundram and Fandi Ahmad at the top of their wish list.

Others believe a top foreign name should get the job, and help groom a local coach to eventually take over.

While all of Hodak's time spent in the region still does not qualify him as a local, he sees the real need for local knowledge.

"I've been around the region, to Cambodia and China too, and there are not many big-name coaches who become successful," he said.

"You must understand the football culture of a place first."

This article was first published on April 1, 2016.
Get The New Paper for more stories.