Football Association of Singapore turns to Tatsuma Yoshida as new Lions tamer

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Tatsuma Yoshida was unveiled as the new Singapore coach by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Thursday morning.

In a press conference held at the FAS headquarters at Jalan Besar Stadium, it was announced that Yoshida had been handed the reins after putting pen to paper on what is believed to be a two-year contract.

The news that the Japanese had been given the nod was first revealed by FOX Sports Asia last week, after sources had informed that the appointment would be made official by the start of June.

“I am honoured to be appointed Singapore’s national team coach and thankful for the trust that FAS has placed in me,” said Yoshida.

“This position bears heavy responsibilities which I will undertake with commitment and pride.

“While I am aware that this is no easy task, I believe in the potential that Singapore football has to reach greater heights and success on the international stage and look forward to embarking on this journey with the players and fans.”

Fans will not have to wait long to see their new coach at the helm, with Singapore set to take on Solomon Islands and Myanmar in two friendlies at the National Stadium on June 8 and 11 respectively.

Speaking at Thursday’s unveiling, FAS president Lim Kia Tong said: “Tatsuma Yoshida’s experience with youth development was a key factor that the selection committee and I took into consideration.

“We needed someone who has the technical capability to develop the skillsets of our youth footballers for the future national team and the ability to influence the mentality of our senior players to ignite their desire to fight and win and be the exemplary model for the younger players.

“In addition to his experience, Tatsuma Yoshida brings with him the exemplary attitude, strict discipline and hard work that the Japanese are known for.

“We are convinced that he is the right person for the job and are confident that he will be able to bring about the high intensity, fast-moving football style that both we as well as the fans are looking for.”

While Yoshida does not have prior international experience, he has been in charge of Japanese clubs Kashiwa Reysol, Albirex Niigata and Ventforet Kofu.

The arrival of Yoshida comes hot on the heels of another key appointment in Joe Palatsides, who was named FAS technical director at the start of May, as the organisation looks to arrest an alarming decline.

Once regarded as heavyweights in Southeast Asia, the Lions have failed to make it out of the group stage in the past three editions of the AFF Suzuki Cup after winning the tournament four times previously.

Furthermore, Singapore’s current FIFA world ranking of 160th is a long way from their highest-ever position of 73rd, which was achieved in August 1993.

The Lions did give their fans something to cheer about last year when they notched six wins in ten matches, although four of those did come in friendlies.

Nonetheless, prior to that, they endured a run of 14 games without victory that lasted from November 2016 to March 2018.