Singapore out to make an immediate impact

SINGAPORE: Singapore will look to make an immediate impact on the Malaysian Super League when they return to the competition after an 18-year break on Tuesday. Singapore’s representative side, LionsXII, will host defending champions Kelantan in front of a sell-out crowd at Jalan Besar Stadium after fans queued overnight for tickets during the weekend.

“I know some teams have written us off before a ball has been kicked, but I think we’re more than capable of springing a few surprises at home,” vice-captain Hariss Harun told The Straits Times on Monday.

The return of Singapore, after the settling of a protracted feud with Malaysian football authorities, has caused great excitement in the city-state, whose 12-team S-League has been hit by a series of scandals.

However, some fans have urged fellow supporters not to abandon the S-League in favour of the Malaysian competition, which organisers hope will provide an alternative to broadcasts of the hugely popular English Premier League.

Singapore was a stalwart in the Malaysian league until 1994, when they walked out in a dispute over gate receipts. But the two sides have resumed cooperation after striking an agreement last year.

World body FIFA has repeatedly rebuked the tiny, but wealthy, Southeast Asian state as a centre for global match-fixing, while the much-criticised S-League has been plagued by corruption, financial problems and on-pitch brawls.

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