Bigger tourney to come next year

The Lion City Cup looks set to become a six-team tournament again next year, up from four this time.

R. Sasikumar, managing director of Red Card, the tournament's organiser, told The Straits Times at yesterday's draw: "Nothing is concrete but we will likely have six teams again next year. This year, there have been many non-sporting and sporting events so we have scaled it down to just four teams."

The potential expansion was welcomed by Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin, who said: "The Lion City Cup is a tournament that is beamed around the world. To bid for a tournament like the Under-17 World Cup , we need to show we are capable and the Lion City Cup is one example of showing our capabilities as a host."

He added that the Republic's bid to host the 2019 U-17 World Cup is well on track.

"We have been doing a few things over the last few months with regards to preparing for our bid," he said on the sidelines of a press conference yesterday for the 26th Lion City Cup.

"We have gone to observe tournaments in other countries, talk to organisers of various youth tournaments to understand the implications of being a host.

"We also have had initial conversations with Fifa and we are working hard on the groundwork."

Mr Zainudin also revealed that FAS vice-presidents Edwin Tong and Bernard Tan are heading a committee to oversee the bidding project, which involves putting together a competitive U-17 national side.

"If we aim for 2019 or the 2021 edition, talent-spotting is important," added the FAS chief who did not reveal a date for when an official bid would be lodged.

"We want to put in place a youth development programme that our technical director will announce to ensure that if we do aim for 2019, our growth and development will be taken care of.

"We cannot go into it as host and not be competitive."

In April, the FAS appointed Belgian Michel Sablon as technical director on a two-year contract.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'Bigger tourney to come next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe