Former J.League manager to take charge starting in May, will be assisted by Nazri Nasir
SINGAPORE, 2022, APRIL 25 – The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) today announced the appointment of Takayuki Nishigaya as the new Head Coach of the Singapore Men’s National Team.
The Shizuoka native, who turns 49 next month, succeeds Tatsuma Yoshida in the Lions dugout and was unveiled at a press conference in the afternoon at Jalan Besar Stadium. Nishigaya will officially assume his new role in May and is currently finalising the necessary paperwork to travel to Singapore.
“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. “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.”
The former Japan Under-22 international can count on Singapore legend and Under-23 coach Nazri Nasir as his assistant as well as staff coach and analyst Koichiro Iizuka – both of whom have served as part of Tatsuma’s backroom staff.
“I know the high regard in which Tatsuma is held by the Lions and fans, and the excellent work he has done with the team,” added Nishigaya, who has remotely kept tabs on the Lions’ recent FAS Tri- Nations Series 2022 performances, the current AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) campaign and the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U23 Championship 2022. “It is my aim to build on the progress that he has made and, in that regard, the expertise and knowledge of Nazri – a former Singapore captain who commands the respect of the team – and Koichiro will be key to helping us achieve that. Together with the strong support from the fans and other stakeholders, I will give my all to help bring Singapore football forward.”
Assistant Coach Nazri said: “Like with Tatsuma previously, I will be giving my fullest support to our new Head Coach and also help in the familiarisation of the current set-up. All the backroom staff, including myself, will have to play our part to help Coach Nishigaya settle in quickly. My experience as a former Lions captain and having taken charge of the National Team on an interim basis recently will come in handy as we prepare for an important assignment in June for the AFC Asian Cup qualification. I look forward to working with him.”
A former defender who made 100 J.League appearances and represented Japan at Under-22 level, Nishigaya, who holds a Japan Football Association (JFA) S Coaching Licence (equivalent to Asian Football Confederation Pro Licence), started his top-level coaching journey in 2004 as a youth coach at Tokyo Verdy. He eventually became youth head coach before leaving in 2009. He went on to become assistant coach at Albirex Niigata (2012) and Mito Hollyhock (2013 – 15) before being promoted to head coach (2015 – 17) at the latter. Nishigaya also helmed SC Sagamihara before moving to Matsumoto Yamaga, first as Under-18 head coach before becoming first-team assistant in 2020.
FAS President, Mr Lim Kia Tong, welcomed the new Lions Head Coach and said: “We are delighted to have Nishigaya on board after a rigorous recruitment process,” he said. “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.”
Nishigaya comes highly recommended by the JFA Technical Committee, whose Deputy Technical Director, Mr Takeshi Ono, said: “I am delighted that Mr Takayuki Nishigaya has been appointed as the Head Coach of the Singapore Men’s National Team. His vast experience will definitely contribute to the success of the team and the development of the next generation of players.
“Since forming our partnership with the FAS in 2015, we have been cooperating in various areas. The appointment of Mr Nishigaya further strengthens the relationship between the two countries, and we look forward to closer collaboration to develop football further. I very much look forward to the progress of the Lions and sincerely wish for every success in Singapore football.”
Nishigaya will immediately focus on preparations for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup China 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round this June. Drawn in Group F, the Lions are set to face hosts Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Myanmar in a bid to qualify for the Finals.
Source: Football Association of Singapore / Main photo credit: J.LEAGUE