FAS president to fans: Adopt wait-and-see approach

Satish Cheney

On 10 January next year, Singapore will make a historical return to Malaysian domestic football competitions after a 17-year hiatus.

While many hope for the return of Singapore’s glory days at the Malaysia Cup, local fans have expressed concern on how taking part in tournaments across the Causeway will benefit the local S-League.

Both Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin and LionsXII head-coach V.Sundramoorthy said earlier this week that Singapore’s foray into Malaysian competitions will have a positive effect on the S-League.

In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore, Zainudin reiterated that the S-league will not become a "poorer cousin" once the LionsXII start their Malaysia Cup campaign.

“People are seeing this from the narrow perspective of the S-League competing against the M-league. I don’t look at it from that angle."

Does China and India growing economically mean it is bad for Singapore? They are competitors to Singapore right? But yet we continue to work along with them. Does Malaysia and Indonesia growing, stop Singapore from growing? I don’t think so. We will find ways to ride the wave or work together,” said Zainudin.

But if fans prefer the Malaysia Cup and decide to throw their energy into supporting the LionsXII, why would they want to turn up for S-league matches?

Zainudin pointed out that the S-League has been facing tougher and more attractive competition for a long time already.

“Every week we have competition also from the English Premier League, La Liga and Serie A. So what makes this challenge even tougher?” asked the FAS president.

He is calling for fans to adopt a "wait-and-see" approach.

“If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. You would have proven that I’m wrong. But let us not kill this project just because people are skeptical. Let’s try and do something different. What’s better? Do nothing or doing something? I would say doing something and failing is still better than doing nothing,” said Zainudin.

The LionsXII will face tremendous pressure from fans who are clamouring for the 1990s "Dream Team" days, and the amount of support the team gets will depend on how well they perform in their first few games in the Malaysian League.

To fans, Zainudin urged, “Don’t stay outside and criticise. Be part of the good beginning and be part of the whole wave so we can push the team higher. Be the 12th member of the team.”