Monday, April 12, 2010

Rekindling the romance

A cross-causeway tournament involving S-League clubs and Malaysian sides, rekindling some of the old Malaysia Cup fever, will go ahead this June, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) confirmed yesterday.

"The FAS and Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have met and, in my view, it appears to be a meeting of two like minds," FAS president Zainudin Nordin, who is also the mayor of central district Singapore, told MediaCorp.

"We will do it for the first time this year, and well see what the constraints are for the subsequent years. But one thing is clear: This is not a one-off event. We want to make this happen on a regular basis."

FAM secretary-general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad expressed Malaysia's keen interest in the tourney.

"It has been quite a while since Singapore football has been absent from Malaysia, and clubs here are very keen on this competition," the former Malaysia international told MediaCorp from Kuala Lumpur.

"We are hoping it'll be a big thing. We're working out the details and moving into the next phase of looking for sponsors for the event."

The tentatively-named FAS-FAM series is scheduled to take place between June and July when domestic leagues take a break for the World Cup in South Africa.

Datuk Azzudin revealed that the tourney is likely to feature both leagues top two sides in 2009, along with the winners of each country's domestic cup competitions joining the fray.

Singapore's representatives are likely to be S-League sides SAFFC, Tampines Rovers and RHB Cup winners Geylang United, and they will face Malaysia's Selangor, Perlis and Negri Sembilan.

And it will not be just the club sides that face off on the pitch.

"In the past few years, relationship between the two countries has improved tremendously, and we would like to further this by having more interaction at all levels in the sporting arena," said Zainudin.

"I am proposing that when the senior sides play a friendly, every level below them from the under-23s down through the ranks plays as well."

While the dates have yet to be finalised, the competition is likely to take place between June 22 and July 11 and, according to Datuk Azzuddin, fans either side of the Causeway will get a taste of the action.

"Fans in Singapore will get the opportunity to see the teams play, and fans here will also get a taste of the action," he said.

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