FAS raps technical director Sablon for comments, calling it 'unproductive and unbecoming'
SINGAPORE — The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has refuted its technical director Michel Sablon's claims in a media report published on Saturday that he is not getting enough support from the FAS council for his youth development plans.
SINGAPORE — The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has refuted its technical director Michel Sablon's claims in a media report published last Saturday (Sept 23) that he is not getting enough support from the FAS council for his youth development plans.
In a strongly-worded statement issued on Tuesday (Sept 26), FAS deputy general secretary Yazeen Buhari said he was "surprised" by the Belgian's comments in The New Paper (TNP), and that it was "unproductive and unbecoming" for Sablon to voice out such frustrations in the media.
Yazeen, who left the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to join the national sports association in August, said: "I am surprised by Michel's claim that the FAS does not support his plan.
"He should know better, given that he has met the executive committee (exco) and FAS senior management on several occasions to discuss the plan, its implementation and also progress."
In the interview with TNP, Sablon had criticised the FAS exco for not publicly backing him when some members of the football fraternity questioned the efficacy of his plan for local football. This was after a series of poor results from Singapore's age group national teams this year, with the national Under-15 side the latest to come under scrutiny after a shock 11-0 loss to Japan last week in a qualifier for the AFC Under-16 championship.
The performances of the age group footballers had led to questions over Singapore's youth development plans, which Sablon was brought into the FAS in April 2015 to work on in order to produce talented Singaporean football talents for the future. The 70-year-old Belgian had previously worked on a similar blueprint in his home country to much success, with his plans producing the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne.
Despite the criticism and perceived lack of support from his employers, Sablon - who was handed a two-year extension to his contract in March - said he would not be quitting.
"I don't take things personally. What I want is support for the plan," he told TNP.
"We need time for people to understand things we are doing…we are not focused on making good teams - we are focused on making good players… At the end of the day, the final goal is to produce players for the (senior) national team."
While Yazeen said Tuesday that the FAS are aware of the challenges that Sablon has identified, he stressed that benchmarks and targets have to be put in place in order to chart the progress of the youths and technical development.
"Perhaps Michel saw our request for setting tangible targets as a lack of support, but FAS is accountable to our stakeholders and to the public, and it is only right we ask for accountability considering the way the region's youth teams seem to be playing at a much higher level than our boys," he said.
"From a systems standpoint, we wanted to know what the gaps are and as a result, difficult questions have to be asked. It cannot and should not be status quo especially when the desired outcomes are not coming through.
"These issues have been regularly discussed with Michel, and we will continue to do so."
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