The FA of Singapore (FAS) have announced the appointment of Takayuki Nishigaya as the new head coach of the national team.
The Shizuoka native, who turns 49 next month, succeeds Tatsuma Yoshida in the Lions dugout and was unveiled at a Press Conference yesterday.
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 national team and I am very grateful for the trust and belief that FAS have 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 U23 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.
“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.”
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.”
A former defender who made 100 J.League appearances and represented Japan at the U22 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 an assistant coach at Albirex Niigata (2012) and Mito Hollyhock (2013-2015) before being promoted to head coach (2015-2017) at the latter.
Nishigaya also helmed SC Sagamihara before moving to Matsumoto Yamaga, first as Under-18 head coach before becoming a first-team assistant in 2020.
FAS President Lim Kia Tong welcomed the new Lions head coach and said: “We are delighted to have Nishigaya on board after a rigorous recruitment process.
“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 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.