Former Melbourne City youth doyen Joe Palatsides has quickly found his feet following his departure from the A-League, with dailyfootballshow.com learning the 53-year-old is set to be named the Technical Director of the Football Association of Singapore on Thursday.
In the pipeline for several weeks whilst contracts were agreed and VISAs organised, Palatsides will be unveiled in front of the Singapore press at 5:00 local time.
Palatsides departed City on 3 March after almost a decade in Bundoora; first appointed by now-PFA Ceo John Didulica – a man Palatsides credits as providing him with the opportunity to truly kickstart his coaching career following his return to Australia – whilst the club was still operating under the Melbourne Heart banner.
Palatsides went on to play a key role in turning an under-resourced Heart Academy, that was birthed into a landscape in with primary competitor Melbourne Victory was firmly established, into a powerhouse of youth development.
Champions of the Y-League in 2014-15 and 2016-17, City regularly sent players to Australia’s representative sides during Palatsides’ tenure and reared talent such as Denis Genreau, Mathew Millar, Stefan Mauk, Connor Metcalfe, Nathaniel Atkinson, Ramy Najjarine, Moudi Najjar, Anthony Lesiotis and, of course, Daniel Arzani.
The fruits of his labour were on full display on the final Friday night of the A-League season; with Central Coast’s Millar and City’s James Delianov, Idrus Abdulahi, Najjarine, Atkinson, Metcalfe all having coming up through Palatsides’ system.
Prior to his move into coaching, Palatsides spent over a decade in Victorian football as a player with the likes of Brunswick Juventus, Footscray JUST, South Melbourne (scoring South’s famous equaliser in the 1991 NSL Grand Final) and Heidelberg United.
A spell in Greece then followed, before his retirement and move into coaching.
“Joe, funnily enough, was also on the inaugural PFA executive,” Didulica said of the man he brought to Heart.
“In my capacity as the PFA CEO, it’s great to see inaugural alumni take on such an important position.
“It’s a great reward for Joe to be given this opportunity. Nobody works harder, nobody is more invested in their players.
“The work that he’s done in the Heart days and the City days, he’s always given as much energy and time to his players as possible.
“I’ve no doubt that with the journey he’s been on – as an elite player here and abroad having coached in Europe, having coached here in Australia and Asia, to have access to the IP from the City Football Group – that he’s got all the qualities and knowledge that’s needed in a place like Singapore.”
Palatsides heads to Southeast Asia to replace former Technical Director Michael Sablon – the 71-year-old having stood down from the role at the end of 2018 – and tasked with guiding the national sides of a nation that has traditionally struggled to make headway in Asian football.
A City-State approximately 98 times smaller than Tasmania, Singapore’s men’s side is currently ranked 160th in FIFA’s World Rankings – sandwiched between Indonesia and Barbados.
The nation was eliminated in the group stage of the 2018 AFF Cup – a competition that they won in 1998, 2004-05, 2007 and 2012.
It advanced to the third round of 2019 Asian Cup qualifying but were eliminated after finishing fourth in a group containing also Bahrain, Turkmenistan and Chinese Taipei.
In March of this year, Singapore was defeated in the final of the 2019 AIRMARINE Cup, losing 5-4 on penalties to Oman in the decider.
Singapore’s women’s side is ranked 120th in the world – sitting between Suriname and Nicaragua.
It has failed to reach an Asian Cup since the 2003 iteration of the tournament and finished bottom of Group A of the first round of the AFC’s 2020 Olympic qualifiers whilst conceding 27 times and only scoring twice.