Vital to build local support for S-League

With the return of the LionsXII players to the S-League and the possibility of recognisable, quality players such as Jermaine Pennant playing ("Stags pin hopes on 'wild' Pennant"; Jan 5), the upcoming season is generating more interest than preceding ones.

While it is unfortunate that only four out of the 10 teams represent a region of Singapore, it is nevertheless an opportunity for the Community Development Councils (CDC) to incorporate and build support for these teams as part of their community outreach activities and, perhaps, even run the teams' fan clubs. 

Schools and other social institutions can also do likewise.

While programmes can be developed to build national support for the S-League, unless residents in an area start to relate to their team, building a sizeable support base for any team will be difficult. 

At the same time, the teams themselves need to understand the need to build rapport with residents. 

They can do this by participating in CDC or school events that need not necessarily be related to football. 

This will not only show that the team wants to be a part of the community but can also bring players and residents closer.

It is always easier to support a team whose players you have met and had conversations with.

In this manner, I hope past teams such as Woodlands Wellington and Tanjong Pagar United will return to the S-League, driven by the desire and support of residents in those areas to see a team representing them.

It would also be nice to see Tampines Rovers return to a stadium in the east.

Ultimately, growth in local support and evidence that the team is embedded within the community will lead to increased sponsorship as not only established corporations but local businesses, too, see them as a channel to get their message out to their customers.

Tong Hsien-Hui