Kallang set to stage all Lions' home qualifiers

As Singapore bid to extend their fairytale run in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, they could be able to call the National Stadium home.

The Straits Times has learnt that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and the Sports Hub will meet today to discuss a deal which will see the Kallang venue host the Lions' next four home fixtures on the road to Russia.

Besides Afghanistan (Oct 8), Cambodia (Oct 13) and Syria (Nov 17), Singapore will face four-time Asian champions Japan on Nov 12 as part of the second round of the Asian qualifying phase.

They held the Samurai Blue to a surprise 0-0 draw in Saitama last month. After two games, the Lions top Group E, backed by a 4-0 whitewash of Cambodia in their opener.

The national team have not played at Kallang since November, a 3-1 defeat by Malaysia that knocked them out of the AFF Suzuki Cup group stage in front of more than 50,000 fans.

But they will have a busier fixture list in the next 12 months as part of their move away from the 7,500-capacity Jalan Besar Stadium.

Media rights giant MP & Silva, which recently signed a six-year, $25 million deal with FAS, is looking to host a tournament during the Chinese New Year period next year, involving the Lions and other nations.

And in July, they will compete in a quadrangular contest similar to the Emirates Cup that English Premier League side Arsenal typically host during pre-season.

Sanjay Nair

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2015, with the headline 'Kallang set to stage all Lions' home qualifiers'. Print Edition | Subscribe