Fandi Ahmad: Training ground, funds for overseas stints needed

Fandi Ahmad
Fandi Ahmad (via FourFourTwo)

With new leaders in place at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), Fandi Ahmad, its head coach of youth, is hopeful that some of the sport’s problems will be fixed ahead of major competitions such as the 2018 Asian Games, SEA Games (2019, 2021) and the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

Tasked with producing the Republic’s next generation of footballers, local icon Fandi Ahmad cited a lack of a permanent training ground as a key problem.

The U20s currently alternate between training venues like The Arena, ITE College Central and Geylang Field. There is also no fixed facility for the national age-group teams. But this can be solved if a National Training Centre (NTC) — first mooted in 2010 as a permanent home for all of Singapore’s international teams — is finally built.

“(Lack of) facilities is the biggest problem for our youth; S.League clubs, Prime League teams … they need to train (and) we cannot be sharing (fields) all the time — I think that is very crucial,” said Fandi Ahmad on the sidelines of a press conference to unveil the Singapore Selection squad for the Sultan of Selangor’s Cup on Saturday.

Funding for overseas training and competition stints is also key, as Fandi Ahmad added: “(Playing) local (teams) is okay, but we need more exposure (overseas). I’m sure they (new leaders) are willing to change everything and hopefully we can do better (things) for the youth.”

For now, Singapore Selection head coach Fandi Ahmad will be aiming for victory against the Selangor team at the Sultan of Selangor’s Cup at the National Stadium on Saturday.

With former Singapore stars Nazri Nasir and Noh Alam Shah as assistant and team manager respectively, the 54-year-old promised a show to remember for the fans.

“We want to entertain fans … demonstrate some skills against the Malaysians,” he said.

“I think it will be a very good game, we’d like to attack and score goals and we’ll be going out for a win.”

Comprising players from the S.League clubs, the 21-man squad includes Fandi’s eldest son Irfan, Singapore captain Shahril Ishak, winger Gabriel Quak and left-back Ho Wai Loon. Ticket sales have been encouraging, with 24,788 sold to date.

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