Football: Eastick favourite for FAS post

Former England Under-20 coach Brian Eastick is understood to be the front-runner among five candidates on the shortlist to be the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) next technical director.

Following an executive committee meeting yesterday morning, the FAS gave an update on its search for a new football brain to replace Slobodan Pavkovic, and said that five coaches had been shortlisted for the position.

Serb Pavkovic, who was appointed in April 2008, will leave next month.

Apart from Englishman Eastick, The New Paper understands experienced coaches from Holland, Germany, France and Belgium make up the quintet vying for the position.

They were chosen from over 60 applicants from the "top 20 countries in the world football rankings", according to an FAS release.

FAS president Zainudin Nordin said: "We spent the past few months looking for the best available person who will be a good fit with the local football environment.

"I am very pleased with the calibre and quality of the candidates who have applied for the position.

"We have met with the shortlisted candidates who have shown us their plans for Singapore's youth development that are aligned with our goals of producing competitive and winning teams at all age-group levels for key competitions such as Asian Cup, Asian Games, World Cup qualifiers, pre-Olympic qualifiers, AFF Suzuki Cup, SEA Games and AFC/AFF age-group competitions.

"We hope to announce the appointment before March."

It is believed that Zainudin was in London last month to interview the five candidates. FAS general secretary Winston Lee is also understood to have had informal meetings with the five.

Eastick, 63, however, seems to be favourite for the post.

The former Crystal Palace trainee is now a first-team coach with second-tier Nottingham Forest, where Stuart Pearce is the manager. He previously had stints with the youth academies of Birmingham City and Newcastle United.

And he has already had a first-hand look at the youth development structure here.

TNP reported in March that he spent two weeks watching Prime League and Centre of Excellence (COE) matches. The Prime League is an Under-21 competition for the reserves of professional S.League teams, while the COE leagues are for clubs' U-18 and U-16 youth teams.

Then, an FAS spokesman said: "As part of our ongoing effort to constantly improve our standards - both on and off the pitch - we have invited Eastick to share with us his recommendations relating to our current structure."

Eastick's most famous achievement came in 2009 when he led an England U-19 team, which had the likes of now-established Premier League stars Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker (both Tottenham), to the U-19 European Championship final, where they lost to Ukraine.

This article was first published on December 30, 2014.
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