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Apr 17, 2012

Avramovic will lead Singapore in Suzuki Cup


Avramovic will lead Singapore in Suzuki Cup
SINGAPORE - The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) have resisted calls to relieve national football coach Radojko Avramovic of his post after the Lions' dismal showing in the third round of the Asian Zone World Cup qualifiers.

Last night, the executive council sat for some three hours at FAS' Jalan Besar headquarters in a meeting that included a review of the World Cup qualifying campaign.

The FAS then released a statement backing the Serb, at least until after December's AFF Suzuki Cup.

Said FAS president Zainudin Nordin: "The target set for Avramovic was to qualify for the third round and he achieved that.

"The ex-co has analysed his track record and we are confident that under his leadership the team can achieve the target of qualifying for the final of the Suzuki Cup."

The Lions entered the World Cup qualifiers after some poor outings.

They were booted out of the 2010 Suzuki Cup and failed to qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup finals.

While they managed to qualify for the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers, they lost all six of their Group A fixtures, including a 7-1 mauling at the hands of Iraq.

As a result, the Lions have dropped to 158 in March's FIFA rankings, the lowest for the Republic.

Based on Avramovic's report submitted to the ex-co, the FAS put the poor showing in the World Cup qualifiers down to defensive lapses on the pitch, the lack of depth in the team, and poor match fitness of the players at international level.

"The ex-co is in agreement with all that was in Raddy's report and we will work within our constraints to make sure that the team is prepared well for the Suzuki Cup; and continue on our rebuilding and renewal process," said Zainudin.

While Zainudin asserted that the team should have performed better, he added: "The FAS Technical Department will work with Avramovic to rectify the technical and tactical mistakes committed by the team during the qualifying campaign."

The FAS are looking at new players in the national set up to change their fortunes at the Suzuki Cup - South-east Asia's biggest football competition.

Said Zainudin: "The only way to rebuild is to ensure that there is a strong pipeline of players coming through the ranks. With the LionsXII and the Courts Young Lions doing well, we are hoping that the pipeline will be strong with those new players available for national team selection.

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