He offered a new suggestion which I hadn’t heard before: Instead of returning as the Singapore national team, our current clubs in S-League could go in separately on their own. There could also be stricter caps on the number of foreign players allowed on each team. This could dispel the Malaysians’ fear that our over-funded national team will overwhelm their state teams and malu them again. I think the Malaysian teams and fans will welcome the competition. I’m sure sponsors on both sides will definitely support it.
I think this is something that our sports officials, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and politicians should seriously look into. Like Mr Lim pointed out, the Kallang Roar is more effective at fostering national pride than catchy National Day songs. I would add that it is more effective than us winning Olympic table tennis medals with the help of “foreign talent”. It also fosters racial harmony, because football is a sport that cuts across all races.
Furthermore, what better way to build up relations with our neighbours up north than through football? With dozens of matches going on, Singaporean fans will have an excuse to visit Malaysian states they never typically go to. I’m sure this will dispel lots of misconceptions they had about Malaysia.
It’s sad that a whole generation of young Singaporeans has missed out on experiencing the Kallang Roar. I remember going to the Malaysia Cup football matches at the National Stadium in the 80s and early 90s with my dad. The atmosphere was simply electric, with Singaporeans from all walks of life cheering in unison for our team.
Not too long ago, I returned to the Stadium to watch a Singapore-Malaysia match during the Tiger Cup. I noticed that the crowd didn’t even know how to cheer anymore, or at least everyone was shouting their own thing and there was no united voice.
I’m not really sure why we left (or were booted out) of the Malaysia Cup. The official reason seems to be that the Football Association of Malaysia wanted to impose a levy on the gate receipts of matches played in Singapore. Rather than accept the levy, the FAS decided to withdraw from the Cup and set up the S-League.
Well the S-League has proven to be quite a failure, to the point where the only people who watch it are those who have placed bets on the matches. It’s no point continuing to pour money into a losing venture. A little bit of compromise and humble pie-eating will be in order to get our teams back into the Malaysia Cup.