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YOG Football Boys Get a New Coach from Japan


Newly appointed National Football Academy Under-16 coach Takuma Koga believes his boys have a lot of potential after seeing them at training for the first time. (Photo: SSC/ Bibek Gurung)


The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced on 20 April 2011 that former Cerezo Osaka Under-15 head coach Takuma Koga has been appointed as the new coach of the National Football Academy (NFA) Under-16 team, which mainly comprises of the squad from the 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) bronze-medal winning side.

 

The Japanese, who will turn 42 at the end of April, boasts a distinguished career as a professional footballer, where he played alongside household names like Brazilian legend Dunga at Jubilo Iwata, with which he won the J-League titles in 1997 and 1999, as well as the J-League Cup in 1998.

 

As a coach, Koga holds the S License obtained in 2006, which is equivalent to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Pro Diploma - the highest coaching qualification in AFC. Former national striker Abdullah Noh will continue as the assistant coach to the team, while Kadir Yahya, the former national defender who led the boys at the YOG, will start grooming the newest intake of Singapore Sports School hopefuls as he assumes the role of the Under-13 coach.

 

Koga's immediate task will be to prepare the NFA Under-16 team, who were recently awarded the Singapore Sports Awards 2011 Sportsboy Team of the Year (Team Sport), for the upcoming 23rd Canon Lion City Cup in June 2011. As part of Koga’s 2-year tenure with FAS, he will also follow the boys up and prepare them for the 2013 AFC U-19 Youth Championships.

 

“I hope to bring my experience to the side,” said Koga after seeing his new team for the first time at the Singapore Sports School on the same day of the announcement. “This team has a lot of potential and possibilities and I want me and my team to grow up together.”

 

Koga’s appointment was part of the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding between the FAS and the Japan Football Association which will, among others, see Singapore and Japan implement an Exchange and Attachment Programme which may comprise of courses, clinics, seminars and attachments for coaches, players and other industry-related personnel.

 

“We are pleased to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore because we believe that the way to raise Japanese football standards to the next level is by helping our fellow Asian countries improve,” said Mr Kohzo Tashima, Vice-President and General Secretary of JFA.

“Apart from Japan’s success on the pitch over the past two decades, the JFA also won the AFC Member Association of the Year at the AFC Annual Awards in November last year. In this regard, we are confident that we can leverage and benefit from the expertise and experience of the JFA to bring Singapore football to the next level,” said FAS President Zainudin Nordin.

 

The FAS President also added that in line with the Strategic Plan, FAS are also in advanced discussions with a few countries to tap on their respective areas of expertise.

 

“This will benefit our players, coaches, referees and other personnel involved in the game, and ultimately translate into more success for Singapore football,” he added.