National Team - Lions ● Mar 07, 2024

Tsutomu Ogura strengthens backroom staff with key coach appointments


Nakamura and Lee will join the team as centralised training begins on 11 March



SINGAPORE, 7 MARCH 2024 – Singapore Men’s National Team Head Coach Tsutomu Ogura has announced two additions to his backroom staff as he looks to intensify preparations for the Lions’ upcoming pivotal FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ Round 2 qualifying matches against China.


In a strategic move aimed at strengthening the coaching setup, Ogura has brought on board former Kashima Antlers assistant coach, Kosei Nakamura, as his assistant coach. Additionally, BG Tampines Rovers FC Head Coach, Gavin Lee, has also been invited to be part of the National Team’s backroom staff for the March international window.


This announcement comes as the Lions aim to revive their qualifying campaign at the National Stadium on 21 March before facing China again in the return fixture on 26 March, after two losses in two Group C fixtures against Thailand and South Korea.


As Singapore national team’s newest assistant coach, Nakamura brings forth a wealth of experience alongside a host of qualifications, including the JFA A License 2016, AFC Fitness Coaching Certificate Course Level 2 2022, Scottish Talent ID Level 2 2022, UEFA C License 2022, and the J-League Head of Coaching Diploma.


The 42-year-old Japanese began his coaching journey at Kashima Antlers in 2007 as a football academy coach, the same club where he played during his teen years from 2000 to 2002. Rising through the ranks in various coaching roles, Nakamura eventually settled in as the assistant manager of the club’s professional side since April 2023.


During Nakamura’s playing days, apart from his time with Kashima Antlers, Nakamura also notably had been part of Albirex Niigata’s Japanese and Singaporean sides, respectively. On loan from Albirex Niigata’s Japanese team, he made a notable contribution of seven goals in 15 appearances during the 2005/06 S-League season before retiring as a footballer in 2006.


In addition, Ogura has also extended an invitation to 33-year-old Lee to join his backroom staff and participate in the team’s preparations for the upcoming March World Cup qualifier matches against China.


In 2019, at the age of 28, Lee made history by becoming the youngest-ever head coach in the Singapore Premier League. Under his leadership, BG Tampines Rovers FC secured consecutive second place finishes in the Singapore Premier League and clinched the Singapore Cup in his debut season.


Notably, during the 2021 season, Lee guided the team to their debut in the AFC Champions League in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. There, they were drawn in Group H alongside formidable opponents such as the 2020 K League 1 champions and 2020 Korean FA Cup winners, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, 2020 J1 League runners-up, Gamba Osaka, and Thailand’s Chiangrai United.


Ogura was pleased to have the two coaches join his ranks: “”I am very encouraged that everyone has come together to work towards a common goal of improving our national team. I have met all the SPL coaches and look forward to working with all of them. I am also very grateful to Tampines that they have agreed to allow their head coach Gavin to join the national team for the China games.”


Nakamura and Lee are set to join the national team in their preparations next Monday, 11 March, when centralized training begins.




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