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FAS takes Stange, Aide to task for public spat

SINGAPORE — The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) have hauled up national head coach Bernd Stange and former national under-23 coach Aide Iskandar after the pair clashed in public in the aftermath of the Young Lions’ dismal showing at last month’s SEA Games.

Lions coach Bernd Stange and Aide Iskandar. Photos: Getty Images, TODAY file photo

Lions coach Bernd Stange and Aide Iskandar. Photos: Getty Images, TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) have hauled up national head coach Bernd Stange and former national under-23 coach Aide Iskandar after the pair clashed in public in the aftermath of the Young Lions’ dismal showing at last month’s SEA Games.

FAS general secretary Winston Lee told TODAY the association was disappointed and disturbed that the two coaches traded accusations in the media. He added they should have aired their grievances to an executive committee, which is expected to review their performance at the SEA Games at the end of this month.

The Young Lions, who were aiming to win Singapore’s first ever SEA Games gold medal in football, exited the under-23 competition at the group stage after losses to Myanmar and Indonesia.

Aide had told The Straits Times on Saturday that the national teams’ department under Stange had made “a series of puzzling moves” that made his job “challenging”.

This included a change of fitness and goalkeeper coaches, and transferring players Sahil Suhaimi and Faris Ramli to Malaysian Super League side LionsXII instead of Aide’s Courts Young Lions six months before the Games.

Responding to what he thought was a “blatantly false claim”, Stange told The New Paper on Monday it was Aide who made the decision on the two players. A gagging order on the pair has since been enforced.

“We are aware football coaches will naturally have their own views on how things should be done, and we always expect them to sort out their differences and issues for the interest of Singapore football,” said Lee.

“National Team Department (NTD) meetings are also another forum and occasion for them to discuss and resolve their concerns. Hence, we are very disappointed and disturbed that our officers have chosen to air their grievances in public. We have spoken to them and are looking into the issues raised by both sides.”

But the coaches’ public blowout is an indication the NTD, which is managed by its own general manager Jason Lee, has not been effective.

In previous administrations, a technical committee decided on the movement of players and coaches within all national teams, said Steven Tan, who was FAS executive secretary from 1978 to 1992. They were people with knowledge of the national set-up and included the Lions coach.

“The blowout between Stange and Aide should not have been allowed to happen,” added Tan. “Obviously, there is a mechanism that is not in place because in my time the technical committee oversees the appointment and work of the various coaches. If the coaches of the national and under-23 teams cannot resolve issues they will always bring it to the technical committee. Both views will be heard before a decision is made and agreed upon so there would not be any mud-slinging and accusations in public.”

Despite the absence of a technical committee, Balestier Khalsa chairman S Thavaneson said Stange and Aide did no favours for themselves by disputing outside the confines of the FAS.

“The correct approach by any employee is to put forward their views or reports to the organisation and if necessary these can then be looked into and investigated,” he said.

“It is not a question of hiding anything, but by going public they have cut short the process. The right party to any issues, difficulty or performance in this case is the FAS.”

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