Monday, June 29, 2009


Tampines Rovers v Geylang United 3-1

For the first time ever I had to queue to get into an Sleague game. Unfortunately the punters weren't here for the East Coast Derby. What pulled these people from valuable mall time was the prospect of seeing local legends Sheikh Hailkul and Glenn Ong in a charity kick around before the Sleague match.

Images of this charity game can be found here.

Once Fandi & co, for they were also playing, had done their bit most of the crowd buggered off.

Put it this way. The current generation arrived, seeing a packed crowd they looked forward to putting on a show. But when they took to the field most people had gone home. How did the players feel about that? Their own people would rather watch a bunch of has beens than the current crop.

And therein lies the dilemma of Singapore football. People are willing enough to pay 10 SGD to see players they are familiar with, the team of the 90's, keen enough to pay double the normal ticket price. But they're not interested in seeing the players of today with whom they are unfamiliar.

And why the unfamiliarity? Why do people still recognise Steven Tan yet don't know any of the current Geylang team? And what can be done to increase awareness?

Singaporeans love football. The 48,000 who turned up for the AFF Cup semi final against Vietnam last December prove that. The queues last night proved that. The 5,000 + at the recent League Cup final prove that.

The challenge facing the clubs and the governing body is to build on that interest. To turn that interest into bums on seats and cold hard cash. It's to make sure people know the players. It's to make sure the local game gets a decent coverage in the local media.

Last night's game between the two eastern sides proved the product is there.

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