Perfect guy for the role

PHOTO: The Straits Times

The man credited with developing Chelsea star Thibaut Courtois has been appointed as a consulting goalkeeping coach by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

Guy Martens, 56, who left his country’s Pro League club KRC Genk in June after almost 25 years, joins on a three-month contract.

The Belgian said that he had intended to take a break from coaching but changed his mind after being contacted by compatriot Michel Sablon, who is FAS’ technical director.

“I could have remained in Europe but I decided to take up this challenge as I strongly believe in the vision and direction of the Singapore federation,” Martens noted in a statement.

The Belgian got right down to work yesterday, overseeing training for the Republic’s shot-stoppers before their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship qualifier against defending champions North Korea tonight.

Sablon said: “To have someone of his stature coaching our goalkeepers in Singapore and guiding our goalkeeper coaches would be tremendously beneficial to us.

“His experience is invaluable and we are delighted to welcome him to Singapore.”

In the wake of Martens’ departure from Genk, Courtois urged the Blues to sign his former coach. He told the British media: “I have given his number to Chelsea and even said that he is available. He can help goalkeepers get better.

“He is the best goalkeeping coach I have ever worked with. I learned everything from Guy.”

The Straits Times understands that Lee Bee Seng and John Burridge – goalkeeper coaches of the LionsXII and the national team respectively – will report to Martens.

FAS president Zainudin Nordin said: “Guy...will work with Michel to further enhance the training and development of our goalkeepers across various age-group teams.

“We will continue to work towards securing the support of our key partners and thereafter bringing on board more personnel with a strong track record to facilitate the progress of local football in all aspects.”

This article was first published on September 4, 2015.
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