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 By Kenneth Tan

Raddy Avramovic discussing Singapore return with FAS - report

Three-time Suzuki Cup winning coach Raddy Avramovic could be returning to Singapore football.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has held preliminary discussions with the Serbian about a possible advisory role.

"There have been some talks [with FAS]," he told The Straits Times. "But at the moment, nothing concrete has been offered yet, and nothing has been signed.

Avramovic is coaching Kuwaiti Premier League side Al Tadhamon on a short-term deal which runs out next April.

The 67-year-old is recognised as Singapore's most successful coach, having led the Lions to AFF titles in 2004, 2007 and 2012 during his nine-year tenure.

His tactical nous and pragmatic coaching style ensured the Lions punched above their weight in the region. Their impressive results include a 2-0 upset win against soon-to-crowned 2007 Asian Cup champions Iraq, and a 1-0 defeat of Thailand to claim the nation's first victory on Thai soil in 35 years.

The Lions went almightily close to qualifying for the 2011 Asian Cup during his reign, before losing 2-1 away to Jordan in a game which they just needed a point.

"I always feel that we could have done better back then and qualify for at least one Asian Cup finals. That's one thing that's missing from my time there," the former Notts County goalkeeper said.

"It was a special time for me. I am very proud of my ex-players and I'm proud to say during my time in charge, we never went out on the pitch saying 'let's not try to concede'. We went out there always trying to score goals and beat the opponents.

"There were some really good games. When we played in the Suzuki Cup, the fans came to watch and filled the stadium. Singapore was a special part of my career.

Avramovic is, however, keen to emphasise that he is not eying a return to the coaching hot seat occupied by the embattled V. Sundramoorthy.

The latter has come under heavy criticism, with the Lions winning just two out of the 20 games since he took charge, having not scored more than a single goal in a games since he took over in May 2016.

"When I left [in 2012], I said maybe [to a return as Singapore coach]," said Avramovic, who coached Myanmar from 2014 to 2015. "But I don't want to return as the national coach. It's time for a change and I want a different challenge."

The Singapore national team are out of the reckoning for the 2019 Asian Cup after a disappointing series of qualifying matches. They will conclude their campaign against Chinese Taipei next March.

Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT


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