Did we undervalue Sundram's talent?

SINGAPORE - ARE you surprised that Sundram is set to leave?

To be honest, I'm not.

I think the writing has been on the wall for some time.

Our problem? We tend to undervalue our local coaches.

We had the Malaysian Super League (MSL) winning coach in our own backyard.

A man who accomplished the feat with a team minus foreigners and with only five players over 23.

Plus, he had to deal with a good number of his players being unavailable due to national service.

That title triumph two months ago emphatically put to rest any questions about Sundram's talent.

And I am sure that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) would be the first to admit that.

So why are we in this situation now?

Are we such a poor paymaster that a rival MSL club can easily double the salary of one of our coaches?

Or did we fail to pay Sundram what we should have in the first place?

And even if it was a question of giving him an improved contract, did we act too late in talking to Sundram?

I understand that the MSL clubs who were interested in him flew down to outline their plans for him, attractive contracts in hand.

Maybe we should have been the ones making an offer he couldn't refuse.

Is it too late to fix things? I'm not sure but our sources suggest that negotiations have gone too far for anyone to back down now.

So we will likely have to find another maestro to lead our pride of Lions, in next year's MSL campaign as well as the upcoming South-east Asia Games.

For the December SEA Games, I suspect national coach Bernd Stange and assistant Aide Iskandar could well be given the task of bringing home that elusive gold medal.


As for the 2014 MSL, perhaps Aide will be asked to cut his teeth, as next season's LionsXII could be a preparatory team for the 2015 Games to be held here. So it won't be the end of the world.

But if you ask me, Sundram's departure will be a big loss to Singapore football.

He is a man who made no secret about his desire to be national coach.

And perhaps not getting that job earlier this year has played a role in easing his passage across the Causeway.

Whatever the case, it looks as though the horse has bolted before we could close the barn door.

Good luck in finding another home-grown thoroughbred.

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