Former J.League player Takayuki Nishigaya appointed as new Singapore football national team head coach

The 48-year-old Japanese’s first challenge will be to guide Singapore through the Asian Cup qualifiers in June.

Muhd Zahin Ilmi

Sports enthusiast and expert overthinker.

Published: 25 April 2022, 4:34 PM

Former J.League player Takayuki Nishigaya has been appointed as the new Singapore football national team head coach, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced on Monday (Apr 25). 

Nishigaya will officially assume the role in May. He is currently finalising the necessary paperwork to travel to Singapore.

The Japanese will succeed fellow countryman Tatsuma Yoshida, who led the Lions to the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup semi-finals late last year before resigning from his post as head coach.

The Lion’s interim coach, Nazri Nasir, who recently led them to victory over Philippines and Malaysia in the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Tri-Nations Friendlies 2022, will remain with the team and assist Nishigaya in the dugout. 

Koichiro Iizuka, who also served as part of Tatsuma’s backroom staff, will remain with the team as the staff coach and analyst.

FAS president Lim Kia Tong 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.”

Nishigaya’s first challenge will be the Asian Cup qualifiers taking place on June 8 to June 14, where he will lead the Lions to face hosts Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Myanmar.


A former defender who made 100 J.League appearances and represented Japan at Under-22 level, Nishigaya holds a Japan Football Association (JFA) S Coaching Licence (equivalent to Asian Football Confederation Pro Licence) and has over 17 years of experience in top-level coaching.

The Japanese international had stints as assistant coach at Tsukuba University, Tokyo Verdy, Chukyo University, Albirex Niigata and Mito Hollyhock, initially as coach, before taking on the top job in June 2015. 

He prevented the club from being relegated from J.League 2 and achieved mid-table placings in the following two seasons.

He then went on to lead third-division club SC Sagamihara to a ninth-place finish among 17 teams in 2018. In the following year, Nishigaya joined second-tier team Matsumoto Yamaga as their under-18 coach and was eventually promoted to become the side’s assistant coach in 2020 before leaving the club last June.

Similar to his predecessor Tastuma Yoshida, Nishigaya also has no prior experience as an international coach.

Nishigaya has also developed a handful of talented players who are current Japanese international players, including Celtic FC’s Daizen Maeda and FC Porto’s Shoya Nakajima.

Nishigaya said: “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.”

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