Football: Raddy's Myanmar will be tough

Singapore coach Radojko "Raddy" Avramovic shouting instructions during the second leg of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup final match against Thailand held at the Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkok on 22 December 2012.

He brought gumption, belief and tactical nous, and with that came three Asean titles to Singapore.

Radojko Avramovic's nine-year reign as Lions coach saw him become the Republic's most successful coach.

Come December, the Serb (above) could be plotting a route past Singapore at the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Sources have confirmed media reports that Avramovic will put pen to paper to become coach of Myanmar.

Singapore's players believe they will be in for a tough challenge should the Lions meet Myanmar in the region's biggest international football competition.

"His appointment will only be positive for Myanmar. They are an aggressive side that play with a lot of heart, and Raddy will instil discipline and tactical awareness in them," said Singapore vice-captain Hariss Harun.

"They'll be hard to beat."

Avramovic wrote Hariss into the Singapore history books, making him the youngest player - aged 16 years and 217 days - to represent the national team when he faced North Korea in 2007.

The 64-year-old dared to place his trust in a younger generation of players, several of whom are now mainstays in the national side, and even stars across the Causeway.

"He brought my generation into the national team, helped us grow and shine - and I'm sure Myanmar will enjoy a similar transition," said Baihakki Khaizan, whose $1.5 million, four-year deal with Malaysian Super League giants Johor Darul Ta'zim makes him the highest-paid Singapore footballer.

"He will change Myanmar, like he changed us."

Avramovic's contract with the Lions ended in December 2012 and German Bernd Stange was appointed Singapore's new coach the following May.

Stange has been charged to at least reach the final in this year's tournament, which Singapore will co-host with Vietnam.

The Lions matches will be played at the new national stadium at the Singapore Sports Hub.

FIRST CAP

Avramovic also gave LionsXII skipper Isa Halim his first cap, something the 27-year-old will not forget.

"We all respect him, and while I wish him well, I want to beat his team if we do face them. But it will be tough," said Isa.

"Raddy knows the strengths and weaknesses of every single player, and knowing your enemy is the first step to beating them."

While Hariss remains grateful to Avramovic for giving him his break, all goodwill will be put aside should the Serb be seated in the opposition dugout.

"I have the utmost respect for Raddy, but once he's on the opponent's bench, we have to be professional and look to beat him," said Harriss.

"That's what he always emphasised," the 23-year-old chuckled.


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