Singapore appoint Takayuki Nishigaya as new coach of Lions

Takayuki Nishigaya -- who previously managed Japanese club sides Mito Hollyhock and SC Sagamihara -- has been appointed the new coach of Singapore. J.LEAGUE

Singapore's four-month search for a new head coach has concluded with Takayuki Nishigaya handed the reins of the Lions.

Nishigaya's appointment was announced by the Football Association of Singapore on Monday, with the 48-year-old -- who has previously taken charge of club sides Mito Hollyhock and SC Sagamihara in his native Japan -- set to officially start in May.

It is understood that Nishigaya has put pen to paper on an initial 24-month contract, with an extension option of a further two years.

"It is a great honour to become the new head coach of the Singapore men's national team and I am very grateful for the trust and belief that FAS has in me," Nishigaya said in an official statement.

"I fully understand the heavy expectations that come with this position, and I am very much looking forward to undertaking the responsibilities with my fullest commitment and endeavour."

Nishigaya follows in the footsteps of compatriot Tatsuma Yoshida, whose two-and-a-half year reign came to a close last December after leading the Lions to an impressive semifinal appearance at AFF Suzuki Cup 2020.

"We are delighted to have Nishigaya on board after a rigorous recruitment process," said FAS president Lim Kia Tong.

"We knew that Tatsuma had left some big shoes to fill, and it was imperative that we found the best candidate who had the required character and attributes to succeed him.

"We believe that Nishigaya is exactly that and we are confident he can take on the challenge of continuing to make our Lions roar."

Prior to Nishigaya's hiring, Singapore had been led on an interim basis by former Lions captain Nazri Nasir, who masterminded victories over Malaysia and Philippines in last month's FAS Tri-Nations Series.

Nazri will continue to be involved in the setup as the assistant to Nishigaya.

The immediate task at hand for Nishigaya will be the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers in June, with Singapore looking to qualify from a group also including Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Myanmar.