FAS wants Fandi Ahmad to stay
National football body working overtime to find role for former national skipper
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is working overtime to make local football icon Fandi Ahmad a concrete offer, in the hope he will stay.
The 54-year-old former national skipper, whose contract is up in three months, met two FAS senior management officials yesterday to discuss his future with the national football body.
When contacted by The New Paper, Fandi (above) confirmed the meeting, but declined to go into detail.
But sources told TNP that the FAS is now rushing to thrash out an offer for him, in light of interest by Malaysian Super League side Pahang FA.
TNP reported on Wednesday that Pahang, for whom Fandi played in the early 1990s, were keen on roping their former star back in a technical role.
Before the recent developments, the FAS' only offer to Fandi was last December, for him to be head coach of the Under-21 Garena Young Lions team in the S.League.
But Fandi turned down the post as he was not involved in the initial squad selection process.
TNP understands he was also not given assurances on the signing of senior players he had hoped could guide the youngsters, who are currently rock bottom in the S.League with nine points from 20 games, and just four more to go this season.
Since then, he has met the FAS senior management numerous times over the last nine months - it is believed Fandi pitched a role in youth development, with the focus on forming a team for the 2019 SEA Games and qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - but both parties were not able to come to an agreement.
With Pahang's reported interest in securing Fandi, though, the FAS has to act fast.
It is understood Fandi suggested a different role he could take up, in yesterday's meeting, which the FAS is considering.
In response to queries about the meeting, an FAS spokesman said it was "premature" to comment on details.
"We will make an announcement once there is something conclusive," added the spokesman.
Fandi, arguably Singapore's greatest footballer, was an instant hit as coach after hanging up his boots in 1999, leading SAFFC (now known as Warriors FC) to the 2000 and 2002 S.League titles. He was also named the 2000 S.League Coach of the Year.
After a stint coaching the Young Lions - guiding them to their best finish of third twice, in 2004 and 2006 - where he also doubled up as assistant to then-national coach Raddy Avramovic, he moved abroad to coach Pelita Jaya in Indonesia, and then at Johor FA (now Johor Darul Ta'zim) in Malaysia.
He returned to Singapore in 2014 to coach the LionsXII team that competed in the MSL, guiding them to the 2015 Malaysian FA Cup, before the team were kicked out of Malaysian domestic football competitions at the end of last year.
Fandi was also considered for the post of national coach after Bernd Stange's contract ran out in April, but the job went to his former national strike partner V Sundramoorthy instead.
Sundram roped Fandi in to assist him with the Lions and is keen to have him as lieutenant for November's Suzuki Cup assignment, but recent developments have put a question mark over that arrangement.