Singapore Football

Thava wants support for AFC Cup assault


By winning their first RHB Singapore Cup title last night, Balestier Khalsa will compete in the AFC Cup for the first time next year.

Balestier chairman S Thavaneson is hoping to get more financial support from the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League so that the Tigers can do well in the competition - an annual international association football competition among domestic clubs run by the Asian Football Confederation.

"I'm certainly proud to win a major trophy after 19 years. It gives me immense satisfaction that the team delivered something that was long overdue for fans," Thavaneson (above) told The New Paper after watching his team lift the RHB Singapore Cup by beating Home United 3-1 yesterday.

"I thought we should have qualified for the Asian club competitions earlier, but things did not go our way.

"How well we can compete will depend on the amount of financial subsidies we get from the AFC.

"As of now, S.League clubs are not subsidised by the Football Association of Singapore for AFC competitions, but I will meet them and discuss about this because the reality is there are heavy financial costs involved."

Thavaneson cited the cost of hosting opponents here, as well as the cost of signing the quality players required to compete at the continental level.

"It has to make financial sense. I have put in $400,000 this season and I may have to find $150,000 more just to play in the AFC Cup.

"We have to strengthen the squad to match the top teams from Japan and South Korea. It will be tough because the best local players are with the LionsXII," he said.

"But let us savour our win first and then we will discuss how to go about this."