Tampines Rovers announced on Monday that they have signed German tactician Juergen Raab as head coach on a three-year contract. The S.League giants' move comes days after they parted ways with Akbar Nawaz, who was incharge of the team for the last season.
Raab had previously worked with Garena Young Lions during the 2015 season on a one-year contract. The 58-year-old was associated with Singapore football for the first time in 2014 when he joined the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) as fitness coach and went on to work with the U23 national squad during the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.
Notably, the decision to let go off Nawaz surprised quite a few as he had led the team to a pre-season tour to Malaysia where they played a couple of matches in Terengganu earlier this month before the Stags were dumped out of AFC Champions League 2017 after preliminary stage loss to Philippines' Global FC. However, both club chairman Krishna Ramachandra and the former coach himself revealed that the decision was mutual and that the latter had agreed to help the team with the pre-season duties.
Ramachandra now believes that Raab, who has been given three-year's time, is the right man to lead the side as he has good knowledge about youth development system in the country. He also stressed that the Tampines, despite having a revamped side, will be eyeing for title and continental glory in the upcoming season.
Despite letting go off some of their key signings - Jermaine Pennant, Jordan Webb and Billy Mehmet, Tampines were able to find replacements by signing the likes of 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.
"He [Raab] is just a very good coach, someone's who's almost unanimously regarded as one of the best coaches that the Football Association of Singapore has had. He knows the league very well, he knows the youth development system here, and he knows who the talented youngsters are," Ramachandra said, as quoted by The New Paper.
"[The three-year contract] is to give more comfort, and more continuity to the system, and it's not as if he's not a proven coach. We are looking long term, but success is synonymous with the club."