S.League giants Tampines Rovers have let go off coach Akbar Nawaz and are likely to replace him with former Young Lions tactician Juergen Raab ahead of the upcoming 2017 season.
The decision to part ways with Akbar comes days after the Stags were dumped out of AFC Champions League qualifiers first round by Philippines' Global FC. The club announced the move on Friday through a Facebook post.
"It is sad for us to see Akbar go but we wish him all the best and he continues to be a friend of the Club. He has done very well for us since he took over the reigns last season," a statement on their official Facebook page read.
Notably, Nawaz took over from current national coach V Sundramoorthy last year and led the team to a second place finish in the league behind winners Albirex Niigata. However, Tampines finished the season without a silverware and also exited AFC Cup 2016 at the quarter-final stages after losing to India's Bengaluru FC.
Nawaz also led the team to a pre-season tour to Malaysia where they played a couple of matches in Terengganu earlier this month. Despite the unexpected announcement, the 41-year-old revealed that the decision was mutual and amicable. He also added that he would always be ready to get involved with the club again.
"I was certainly not asked to leave - it was mutually agreed upon. I won't deny that remuneration is a key factor as I have a young family and so it has been an important consideration for me," Nawaz said, as quoted by the Straits Times.
"But I have always reassured the club that I will always be there to help them out, especially in their pre-season work. They appreciate that and we will be exploring ways for me to still have some involvement."
While club chairman Krishna Ramachandra has declined to divulge details about the next coach, reports reveal that the players were informed that German tactician Raab will take over for the upcoming season.
Tampines also underwent financial issues last season due to which wage budget was reduced and the move prompted the exits of their marquee signing, former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant along with Billy Mehmet and Jordan Webb. However, the Stags were able to find replacement for the key stars in 22-year-old Croatian Ivan Dzoni, winger Ryutaro Megumi from Japan, South Korea playmaker Son Yong Chan and national stars Khairul Amri and Madhu Mohana.