SINGAPORE: Japanese tactician Tatsuma Yoshida will continue in his role as head coach of the Singapore men’s national team until December 2022 after penning a contract extension, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced on Friday (Feb 5).
The 46-year-old is now set to lead the Lions through the next edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup - slated to be held at the end of the year, as well as the remainder of the team's World Cup qualification campaign.
“I feel the same as I did two years ago when I took this position on – very fresh and with the same motivation to work with my boys, colleagues, the fans and the FAS,” said Yoshida, who took up the role in June 2019.
He added that “2020 was not a normal year", with the World Cup qualifiers postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lions also did not play any international games.
"I was disappointed about that - but after having extensive discussions with the FAS as well as my family, it was an easy decision for me to continue this project in Singapore because I believe we can still improve and are on our way to becoming a better team," he said.
"I feel very happy to continue as national team coach, and it is a very important and exciting experience."
Yoshida has taken charge of nine matches for Singapore – four friendlies and five World Cup qualifiers. The Lions have won three, drawn two and lost four of these fixtures.
Singapore, who are the lowest ranked team in their World Cup qualification group, are third in the five-team group with seven points from five games, two points behind leaders Uzbekistan and one behind Saudi Arabia.
During their campaign, they notched notable wins against Yemen and Palestine.
“We are delighted that Tatsuma has agreed to extend his contract and stay on to lead the Lions," said FAS president Lim Kia Tong.
"The team has demonstrated a marked improvement in terms of both playing style and results under his charge, which has given everyone the belief that we can become more competitive on the international stage in future."
Lions skipper Hariss Harun also noted the progress made under Yoshida.
“The team has enjoyed working under coach Tatsuma since he took charge and the progress that we have made has been clear for everyone to see. The players have benefited from his methods and beliefs and improved under his guidance," he said.
"Coach Tatsuma is also very approachable and, together with the rest of the backroom staff, has helped to foster a strong team spirit.
"We are very happy to know that he will continue to lead us and look forward to improving further as we prepare for the international matches in 2021."