Mobilise community support for S-League clubs

For the first time in years, I am looking forward to the start of the new S-League season.

Unlike in the past, when the better local players were taken out of the domestic football league to form the LionsXII to participate in the Malaysian league, the coming season will see them back in the different S-League clubs, which have snapped up a number of them as part of their pre-season purchases.

Besides the former LionsXII players, other exciting young prospects for the national team have also joined the S-League clubs ("Irfan signs for Home United"; last Wednesday). The presence of so many home-grown talents in the S-League should lead to a spike in the quality of football and make things more exciting.

Fan interest should also grow because the fans can identify better with these players, some of whom have become household names.

To further boost fan support for our domestic league and its players, perhaps the Community Development Councils (CDCs) and other grassroots organisations (GROs) can also adopt the S-League clubs located in their community development districts or group representation constituencies.

Football is a great way to bring people of diverse backgrounds together and the CDCs and other GROs would do well to develop their communities by marshalling the residents behind their adopted S-League clubs, especially for home games.

Such vociferous popular support will go a long way towards motivating footballers to continue to ply their trade in the S-League.

However, all this could come to naught should the proposed Asean Super League (ASL) lead to an exodus of the top local players from the S-League to play in the ASL as part of Singapore's team ("S-League finds no joy in ASL move"; Dec 31).

I hope the Football Association of Singapore will tread carefully and not trample on its own "home league" foot, even as it holds the interests of our footballers close to its heart in forming the ASL.

Edwin Pang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2016, with the headline 'Mobilise community support for S-League clubs'. Print Edition | Subscribe