Takayuki Nishigaya appointed as head coach of Singapore Lions

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Takayuki Nishigaya has been appointed appointed as head coach of the Singapore men’s national football team. (PHOTO: Matsumoto Yamaga FC)
Takayuki Nishigaya has been appointed appointed as head coach of the Singapore men’s national football team. (PHOTO: Matsumoto Yamaga FC)

SINGAPORE — Takayuki Nishigaya has been appointed as the new head coach of the Singapore men’s national football team.

The 48-year-old Japanese succeeds Tatsuma Yoshida and was unveiled at a press conference organised by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Nishigaya, who turns 49 in May, will start his new role in May and the Shizuoka native is currently finalising the paperwork to travel to Singapore.

The announcement comes about four months after Yoshida announced that he had resigned, just weeks after leading the Lions to their first AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final appearance since 2012. Yoshida said then that he was leaving "in order to return home to Japan and be with his family during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic".

Expressing gratitude and “great honour” for his new role, 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.”

Nishigaya, who holds a Japan Football Association (JFA) S coaching licence, had previously coached at Tokyo Verdy, Albirex Niigata, Mito Hollyhock, SC Sagamihara and Matsumoto Yamaga.

The former Japan Under-22 international will be assisted by Under-23 coach Nazri Nasir as well as staff coach and analyst Koichiro Iizuka, both of whom have served under Yoshida.

Paying tribute to his predecessor and his new Lions colleagues Nazri and Koichiro, Nishigaya said, “It is my aim to build on the progress that he (Yoshida) has made…Together with the strong support from the fans and other stakeholders, I will give my all to help bring Singapore football forward.”

Singapore Lions coaching setup. (ILLUSTRATION: Football Association of Singapore)
Singapore Lions coaching setup. (ILLUSTRATION: Football Association of Singapore)

Welcoming Nishigaya in his new role, FAS President Lim Kia Tong said, “We are confident he can take on the challenge of continuing to make our Lions roar.”

Nishigaya will first focus on preparations for the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup China 2023 qualifiers final round this June. The Lions will face hosts Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Myanmar in Group F and aim to qualify for the finals.

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