Suzuki Cup: Lions will make National Stadium debut; Jalan Besar to host other games

The Lions will get to roar at the National Stadium after all, as it was confirmed on Thursday that all three of Singapore's Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup group matches will take place at the new venue next month. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The Lions will get to roar at the National Stadium after all, as it was confirmed on Thursday that all three of Singapore's Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup group matches will take place at the new venue next month. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

The Lions will get to roar at the National Stadium after all, as it was confirmed on Thursday that all three of Singapore's Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup group matches will take place at the new venue next month.

The other three Group B matches not involving Singapore will be played at the Jalan Besar Stadium, in order to give the under-fire National Stadium pitch ample recovery time between fixtures.

Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin said: "We are grateful to AFF for their approval to host the Suzuki Cup in Singapore, and to the Singapore Sports Hub for doing their best in ensuring optimal playing conditions for our group stage matches. All stakeholders have made extensive efforts for this to happen, and we are looking forward to playing in front of 55,000 fans at our National Stadium and bringing back the Kallang Roar."

The National Stadium has taken heavy flak for its sandy pitch, as its hybrid system of natural grass reinforced with artificial fibre inserts has not been growing as anticipated.

Singapore Sports Hub chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik said: "On behalf of everyone at Sports Hub, we are pleased with AFF's decision to host three out of the five group games at the National Stadium. While we continue to optimise pitch recovery before the first game, we look forward to welcoming football fans from across the region to come and experience Asean's most prestigious football tournament at Asia's leading sports, entertainment and lifestyle destination."

Singapore kicks off its Suzuki Cup defence on Nov 23 against three-time winners Thailand, followed by matches against Myanmar and Malaysia on Nov 26 and 29 respectively. Ticketing details will be announced at a later time.