Don't rely on Malaysia to reignite interest in local football

Mr Irwan Jamil is mistaken if he believes that interest in local football will be rekindled by Singapore's involvement in the Malaysia Cup again (Lions face dearth of strikers; Nov 28).

Singapore's re-entry to the Malaysia Super League and Malaysia Cup in 2012 attracted only modest attendances at Jalan Besar Stadium.

The spectator numbers were on a downward trajectory over the three years that followed.

The official average home crowd was 7,200 in 2013, 6,093 in 2014 and 4,962 in 2015.

With the best of our young footballers involved with the LionsXII, interest in the domestic league started to decline as well.

Let us not forget that Singapore's four-year participation in the Malaysia Super League was unceremoniously terminated by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) in 2015.

Even if Malaysia allows us back into their competition, the crucial question is how the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) plans to significantly increase fan interest and attendance so that home games can be played at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium.

As the governing body for football, the FAS needs to be innovative and work out a comprehensive plan to engage fans on a long-term basis.

Our ejection by the FAM in 2015 should be a wake-up call for the FAS not to keep having to rely on our neighbours to improve Singapore football.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Don't rely on Malaysia to reignite interest in local football'. Print Edition | Subscribe