One big family, one big message
He's only 10, but his favourite player is not Wayne Rooney, Luiz Suarez or Lionel Messi.
Meeting his idol and Tampines Rovers veteran Aleksandar Duric made Arriffin Ahmad's day at the S.League Fanfare event at Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.
The Stags fan aspires to be like Duric - the oldest and arguably the best player the S.League has produced - when he grows up.
Like Arriffin, many fans got to meet their S.League heroes up, close and personal in carnival-like atmosphere yesterday.
In partnership with The New Paper, about 700 S.League players, officials and fans showed their unity and camaraderie by forming the words "Our S.League" on the Jalan Besar pitch.
With the start of the 19th season only days away, the message was clear: Support Our S.League.
All 10 Singapore-based teams were involved, with the exception of two foreign teams - Brunei's DPMM FC and Malaysia's Harimau Muda.
S.League CEO Lim Chin said: "We wanted everyone from the S.League family to come together before the official kick-off next week."
Protectors captain Noh Rahman believes in giving back something to the fans who have supported them all these years.
He said: "Some of the fans, even the youth players, don't get to see us up close and personal. So they really enjoyed mingling with us.
"It's a positive note to see the fans get together in one place to catch up, relax and basically have fun."
Nana Eng, an avid Balestier Khalsa supporter, had a good time taking pictures with her favourite players.
The 52-year-old volunteer said: "I was so happy to be part of the S.League Fanfare event. It's great because you get to be so close with your favourite players and take lots of pictures with them."
Last year, players from each club painted their bodies in the colours of their respective clubs and paraded around Orchard Road to promote the league.
This year, the S.League wants to send out a message when they engaged over 700 people to form the words "Our S.League".
Lim said: "To me, it's a sign that says we are one big family, whether you are a player, coach, staff, volunteer or a fan."
The 19th season of the S.League kicks off on Friday, with defending champions Tampines Rovers taking on Singapore Cup holders Home United in the Charity Shield.