Speech by Mr Zainudin Nordin at the Announcement of New National Team Head Coach
ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW NATIONAL TEAM HEAD COACH
WEDNESAY, 15 MAY 2013, 6:00pm
VIP LOUNGE, JALAN BESAR STADIUM
SPEECH BY MR ZAINUDIN NORDIN
PRESIDENT, FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE
Mr Winston Lee
Football Association of Singapore
Friends from the media
Ladies and gentlemen
1. A very good evening to all of you. I would like to thank all of you for being here with us to announce the new head coach for our national football team.
2. As you are aware, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) officials had been working closely with our partners since late last year to identify and appoint the best available coach to build on the success of the national team.
3. Through our own contacts and referrals from our partners, including FIFA, UEFA and several leading Football Associations, we received applications from many qualified candidates who, together with those submitted by Sports Recruitment International, were part of the long list. We went through a rigorous selection process to ensure that we appoint the best person from among the candidates. The list of more than 100 persons was trimmed to about 15 candidates, which was further reduced to a shortlist of five. Apart from face-to-face interviews with the candidates, we also sought the inputs of several leading personalities in the sports and football industries before we made a decision.
4. FAS is glad to announce today that Mr Bernd Stange has been appointed as the new national team head coach. Bernd, who had previously coached the national teams of East Germany, Belarus and Iraq, brings with him international experience, ability and track record of building and managing successful teams despite the constraints.
5. As the Head Coach of Belarus, Bernd achieved several remarkable results, including victories over the Netherlands and France as well as draws against traditional powerhouses Germany and Argentina. In 2011, Belarus was ranked 36th in FIFA’s ranking, up from 90th spot in 2008. During his term as national coach of Iraq, the team’s ranking rose from 74th to 40th place, and FIFA also presented the Presidential Award 2003 to the Iraqi football community – in recognition of their energy and determination to drive forward the development of football despite the difficult situation in the country at that time.
6. With more than 30 years of international coaching experience, Bernd has coached many high-profile players including Matthias Sammer and Alexander Hleb and his track record convinced us that he is the best choice to build on our success and bring Singapore football to the next level.
7. Bernd has also been widely recognised for his work and success within the German football community, and he was one of the five nominees, along the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, Otto Pfister, Holgar Obermann and Michael Weiss, for Football Ambassador Award of Germany this year.
8. Bernd’s immediate target is to work with V. Sundramoorthy, who is the Head Coach of the 2013 SEA Games team and his assistant, Aide Iskandar, to prepare our team for the competition which will take place in December. Bernd will also oversee the preparations for the 2015 SEA Games as we strive to clinch the gold medal at the competition which will be held in Singapore.
9. We also look forward to the National Team players doing their best in the AFC Asian Cup 2015 qualifiers – with four matches coming up in the next few months. And of course, we will continue to secure more resources and support Bernd to the best of our abilities as we aim to retain the Suzuki Cup next year.
10. Our mid-term target for the new Head Coach is to build a team with the target of qualifying for the next edition of the AFC Asian Cup (after Australia 2015) – with qualifiers commencing in 2017. We will support him fully and give him time to groom and develop potential players who will play a key role in the qualifiers a few years down the road.
11. As most of you are aware, we have always emphasized that football excellence, that is, how our teams perform, is just one of the nine key pillars of the Strategic Plan. Hence, apart from football excellence, the new head coach will be working closely with other colleagues to raise standards in ALL footballing aspects as spelt out in the Strategic Plan, including expanding our community and outreach initiatives aimed at using sports as a strategy for nation building. As Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth said, “football is the only sport where you can really mobilise the whole nation”. Last Friday, Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong had also mentioned that “the government will give every Singaporean the chance to enjoy sports, whether it’s professional athletes, whether it’s weekend warriors or whether it’s spectators”.
12. During the past 15 months, the National Team has impressed with their die-hard determination and their team spirit also captured the imagination of Singaporeans from all walks of life during the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup campaign last year. However, there remains much hard work ahead.
13. With his wealth of experience, Bernd will also play a key role in mentoring local coaches including V. Sundramoorthy and Aide Iskandar, and we hope that a local coach will be appointed as the National Coach soon.
14. I would like to take this opportunity to seek the continual support from our stakeholders including clubs, sponsors, government agencies, media, fans, volunteers and players as we strive to raise the standards of local football in all aspects. Let us work together to further promote and develop the beautiful game.
15. On this note, I wish everyone a great evening ahead and to our new colleague Bernd, welcome to the footballing family in Singapore! On behalf of the FAS ExCo and management, I wish you great success with the National Team. I also wish Sundram and Aide success for the SEA Games this December.