Football: Tampines' AFC Cup match against Selangor to be played at the National Stadium

Jermaine Pennant (left) swinging in a cross for Tampines Rovers, in the S-League match between Tampines Rovers and Balestier Khalsa, on April 7.
Jermaine Pennant (left) swinging in a cross for Tampines Rovers, in the S-League match between Tampines Rovers and Balestier Khalsa, on April 7. ST PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA

SINGAPORE - S-League football club Tampines Rovers has further underlined its ambitions by staging its forthcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup game against Selangor at the National Stadium.

Originally scheduled to be held at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the Stags will now stage the Group E fixture on May 10 under the floodlights of the 55,000 seater ground at Kallang. The venue switch is also approved by AFC, the sport's continental ruling body.

Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra said: "I am truly ecstatic about this - Not only because we have this great event but because it was truly a fantastic team effort involving the Sports Hub, the FAS (Football Association of Singapore), Sport Singapore and ourselves.

"It could not have happened otherwise. FAS, in particular, must be given credit for stepping up to own this as a national football project."

The Stags currently top the four-team Group E with seven points from three matches. Selangor are third with four points. The top two finishers will advance to the round of 16.

For Ramachandra, who was appointed chairman at the end of last season, hosting the AFC Cup match at the National Stadium is a way to bring the crowds back and revitalise the local football scene.

He said: "Frankly for Leon (Yee, Tampines vice-chairman) and I, the result on the match day is found before kick-off. We want to see the National Stadium filled with Singapore football fans. For us, it is not about Tampines Rovers, it is about how we win back the trust of the fans.

"I want this match to be labelled and promoted as Singapore vs Selangor. It's about national pride given that Tampines has a good proportion of the national squad players."

Yee added: Obviously, giving Selangor a good thrashing will be icing on the cake."