Tardy's way, or leave, please

He created history when he led Rwanda to their first-ever appearance in a Fifa Under-17 World Cup Finals in 2011.

He also spotted the talent of a certain Zinedine Zidane, aged 12, in the south of France all those years ago.

Now, Richard Tardy faces arguably his biggest task as he looks to reshape Singapore football from the youth level up.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) unveiled the Frenchman yesterday as the new head coach of the national youth teams.

The New Paper had reported on July 11 that Tardy was set to be the man to help technical director, Michel Sablon, with the preparation and implementation of the development plans within the National Football Academy (NFA).

Tardy, 65, will also prepare and coordinate with the staff coaches of the national youth teams on the content of training programmes, and will help the Belgian Sablon mentor FAS' youth coaches and strengthen their long-term development.

"My job is not to instruct the coaches, but to help the coaches improve and help the best young players progress," Tardy said.

"Sablon and I have the same approach, we want a team that plays good football.


"Results at the youth level are not the most important thing. What's most important is for the player to grow, step by step into the national team.

"The target is to push many young players into the national team."

One of the challenges Tardy will face within the NFA set-up is convincing local coaches to adopt his style and philosophy - something Sablon had said was a big obstacle when he started out transforming Belgian football.

Tardy believes the main task is to change the mentality of the football community.

"Perhaps in two months I can say more from what I observe, but I will change this mentality," he said.

"I am the boss of the youth national coaches (and) they must do what I want.

"I want to give them my philosophy of training, of playing the game and of talking to the players.

"If they are not okay, then I stay - they don't stay."

Tardy's most recent appointment before joining FAS was as technical director of the Rwanda Football Association, where he also led the U-20 and U-17 national teams.

A journeyman striker for various French lower league sides during his playing days, Tardy worked with national youth teams in his home country between 1980 and 1997.

He assisted then coach of the national U-20 team, Gerard Houllier, when they won the 1996 European U-20 Championship.

When asked if he had a preferred style of play, Tardy said: "I adapt with the players that I have; I am not for a particular system.


"But my philosophy is always the same, which is to play football. I don't want to play the long ball (system), and I want the players to share the same philosophy."

Fluent in French and English, Tardy has been in Singapore the past two weeks and has already met some of the local coaches from the NFA.

His first task will be to observe how the national U-18s fare at the 2015 AFF U-19 Youth Championship in Laos, from Aug 22 to Sept 4.

The Singapore side, coached by Saswadimata Dasuki, are in Group B with Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Timor Leste.

Tardy was the assistant coach of the French U-16 and U-18 teams which featured the likes of Zidane and players like Youri Djorkaeff and Christophe Dugarry.

Touching on the need for good coaches for any system to work, he said: "If you don't have a good coach, you lose time. If you don't have talent, you can spend many hours but without progress.

"I am very lucky because I detected Zidane when he was 12. I knew he had talent, but he was also intelligent and worked very hard.

"If he didn't have a good coach perhaps he wouldn't have arrived at the level he did."

This article was first published on July 22, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.