Football: Lions need a team manager

MOVING ON: Singapore national football team manager Azrulnizam Shah Sohaimi (above) will leave his post in April, a year after he took on the role.

SINGAPORE - Singapore national football team manager Azrulnizam Shah Sohaimi will leave the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in April, a year after he took over the role from Eugene Loo.

While the FAS looks to replace the 30-year-old, they are considering resurrecting the National Teams Committee (NTC), which was dissolved after the Lions lifted their second ASEAN title in 2005.

In response to queries from The New Paper on Wednesday, an FAS spokesman said: "The FAS can confirm that national team manager Azrulnizam has tendered his resignation and is serving his notice.

"The recruitment process to seek his replacement has commenced and an announcement will be made in due course. FAS thanks Azrul for his contributions and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours."

FAS president Zainudin Nordin then told TNP that the national football body is considering bringing back the NTC.

"There is an important assignment coming up in this year's ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup and we need to look at the best available candidates from within and outside of the organisation," said Zainudin.

"We are considering bringing back the NTC and now we have an opportunity to consider a new approach, with a new FAS executive council that has renewed energy.

"It makes sense going forward that we do not get fixated with the old ways of doing things."

The FAS worked with the NTC, an independent body with the full authority to appoint the national coach, national team manager and other key national team personnel.

The NTC played a major role in appointing former national coach Radojko Avramovic - the most successful coach in Singapore football history with three ASEAN titles - as well as former FAS technical director P N Sivaji.

The last chairman of the NTC was Gombak United chief John Yap.

He was appointed to the role by the FAS upon the recommendation of former Geylang International supremo, Patrick Ang, who was at the time also the chairman of the NTC. NTC members were appointed by the chairman.

If a new NTC is formed, its first task could be to appoint a national team manager.

"The job of national team manager is one that takes a lot of time, energy and effort. From our past experience, the role can pose quite a demanding challenge," said Zainudin.

Loo performed the role for nine years before Azrulnizam's appointment in April last year. He left soon after the birth of his first child.

THANKFUL

In a statement, Azrulnizam, who also heads the FAS' football sciences and medicine departments, said: "It was a tough decision but, after much consideration, I have decided to move on and pursue other opportunities.

"I have gained vast knowledge in areas such as football science and medicine, the involvement with the national team set-up as well as various projects including the SEA Games.

"I would like to thank the FAS management for giving me a multitude of opportunities during my stint."

The FAS did not indicate how it would fill the other roles Azrulnizam took on in the organisation.

shamiro@sph.com.sg


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