Thursday, December 25, 2008

A night at Kallang Stadium

When I was in Primary 3 (1994), Singapore won the Malaysia League and Cup Double for the last time, when it was eventually 'invited' to leave the tournament and so kick-start our very own S-League. But that every move meant that the Kallang Stadium will no longer be a regular feature when in the past, we watch Singapore played against Malaysian state teams every week.

And thus, without the Malaysia Cup and the League, Singaporeans grew to become fond of the English Premier League, and Cristiano Ronaldo takes over Fandi Ahmad. The Reds of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool replaces the Red of Singapore.

So when Singapore host Vietnam on the second-leg of the semi-final of the ASEAN football championships, I eagerly invited the youths to join me at the grand ol' Kallang Stadium, and see what it was like, being a football-crazy kid back in the good 90s.

The match was supposed to start at 7:55pm, but I told the guys to meet at 5:30pm. They said I'm kiasu. But I'm not. Being a Kallang Stadium 'veteren', I know we were realy late. Because i had wanted the 13 of us to sit with the die-hard Singapore fans, as the atmosphere is the best in that area. But by 6pm, we were too far away from them.

If you look closely, you will find some of them decked out with bandanas supporting the Singapore national team. =)

But it soon turned out fine, as a group of sporty Malay fans sat with us and their cheers and merry-making was highly infectious that heped added into the mood. it did felt like the Malaysia Cup days.

After 2 hours of waiting, we soon sang our national anthem, 'Majulah Singapura'. It always felt good to be singing it, with 50,000 of my countrymen, together, as we support our national team to sporting glory.

The match went ahead and Singapore was playing realy well. All the boys and even the girls enjoyed every moment of it too! Though this was the first time they were watching a football match from a stadium, they were constantly on the edge of their seats. It really showed ow football is truly a world favourite game.

By halftime, our Lions clerly dominated, but Vietnamese defence denied them numerous times. Hangqi was so confident that by second half, our Lions will go for the kill, that he even suggested that we invite more people to come for the final, against Thailand, if we won the game Sadly however, our dear Lions lost the game by 1 fluke goal. Singapore Lions clearly dominated 70% of the game but sadly, you need to score to win. The better team was clearly the Lions and the group were clearly disappointed with the loss. One of them even suggested why there can't be points given to more posession and more passes. haha. Maybe, but having goals is what makes football so exciting.

So no more SBMy outing at Kallang Stadium next week. But then, should there be another game, lets go support our Lions again. This time, with a bigger group than 13, and with all of us decked out in red!

Majulah Singapura!
Shi Xiong

P.S. Thanks Sly for the photos

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