Caretaker Sundram eyes fulltime Lions job

Newly-appointed Singapore interim coach V. Sundramoorthy reveals he is hoping to be handed the reins on a permanent basis.

V. Sundramoorthy, LIONSXII

By Gabriel Tan

The 47-year-old was named as the Lions' caretaker boss on Monday evening and will take charge of the side for their opening 2015 AFC Asian Cup Group A qualifier against Jordan on February 6.

His appointment temporarily fills the gap left by Radojko Avramovic, who called it a day after leading Singapore to a record fourth AFF Suzuki Cup title last December.

Since Avramovic's departure, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) have conducted an extensive search for the Serb's successor, but the timing of the clash with Jordan meant they had to appoint a caretaker coach to ensure the team would be in a steady pair of hands for the crucial opening qualifier.

However, Sundramoorthy is hoping a positive display can convince the association's bigwigs that he is the right man for the job on a fulltime basis.

"Of course I will say yes if I'm offered the job on a permanent basis," he said.

"If given the opportunity, this is the highest one can aim for as a Singaporean.

"I've played for my country and if I can now coach my country, it would be something I can look back on in the future and say I've done."

At present, Sundramoorthy appears to be the standout candidate for the job given the way he has progressed through the FAS coaching setup.

In 2007, he took charge of Courts Young Lions, the Under-23 side participating in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League, for three seasons before being named LIONSXII coach for their debut campaign in the Malaysia Super League last year.

In between, the former attacker, who plied his trade in Europe with Swiss giants Basel in 1988, was also an assistant coach to Avramovic, and believes he has gathered the experience needed to be at the helm of a national side.

"I'm definitely ready for it," Sundramoorthy added. "If handed the task, I will definitely do my best for the country.

 "In the long run, I believe I'll be good for the job because I know the players, the culture, the S.League and now the M-League [Malaysia Super League]."

Given the game against Jordan is only a fortnight away, he faces an uphill task to get Singapore prepared to take on one of Asia's rising powers.

And while he admits most of the 2012 Suzuki Cup-winning side deserve to keep their place in the side, the former Malaysia Cup star believes an injection of youth would not necessarily be a bad thing either.

"It's going to be very tough [against Jordan]," he conceded. "But I will do my best with the players available for the match.

"The boys that won the Suzuki Cup have done well and they deserve to continue in the team. But perhaps Singapore could also use with some new additions to the squad.

"Let's see how we can move forward."

Apart from Jordan, the Lions are also vying with Syria and Oman to progress from Group A.

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