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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Thailand-based Benjamin Tan in running for FAS general-secretary job

PJ Roberts reflects on Winston Lee's impact on football in Singapore, as well as the direction of the national team and S.League in 2018.

Singapore's most prominent sports' administrator working overseas has emerged as a front runner to take over from Winston Lee as Football Association of Singapore (FAS) general-secretary.

According to The New Paper and Straits Times, Premier League Thailand deputy CEO Benjamin Tan and Lee's deputy Yazeen Buhari will vie for the position.

Lee announced last week that he will leave FAS at the end of this month after a decade in the job and more than 18 years serving Singapore football.

Tan, 41, has been working in Thailand, which boasts Southeast Asia's top league, since 2016 after previously serving the AFC as head of club competitions.

He was also FAS deputy director of development and planning between 2014 and 2016.

39-year-old Yazeen Buhari has a background as a match official and was a FIFA referee from 2011 to 2013.

Benjamin Tan, Thailand FA
Singaporean Benjamin Tan, second right, has worked with Premier League Thailand since 2016.

His varied experience includes head of development and planning at AFC and roles at Singapore Athletics and Sport Singapore, in addition to various FAS jobs.

Yazeen will take over at the start of next year after Lee's departure in a caretaker capacity before a full-time appointment is made.

"At this critical juncture, I am thoroughly focused on implementing the many changes that will be taking place in the FAS over the next few months," Yazeen told The Straits Times.

"Our football needs to be future-ready for desired outcomes and I'm happy to note our engagements with relevant stakeholders have been positive for that to materialise."

Hougang United coach Philippe Aw says either candidate would be a worthy replacement for Lee.

"Both exude good vibes, they are young and enthusiastic. As long as their hearts are in the right place, both men have the capabilities to improve Singapore football," Aw told The New Paper. "In fact, it would be better if they work hand-in-hand.

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson discuss the new rule that will make S.League sides more youthful and examine the future of the national team.

"But whoever takes on this role must be empowered and trusted to do the job. He will have to ensure a good ecosystem is in place, and must unite all partners, namely the FAS, Ministry of Education, People's Association and Sport Singapore.

"He also needs to ensure a stringent process of quality checks on the people the FAS is employing.  

"This is definitely the right time for a change as we are in bad shape, so we might as well give it a good shot."

The Singapore national team failed to win a game at senior level in 2017, while all four domestic trophies were won by Japanese invitees Albirex Niigata (S).

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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