Football

Roberto Firmino, Fabinho hold court on arrival in Singapore

Liverpool fan Ahmad Saifullah was a delighted man on Sunday night, not just because Reds' rivals Manchester City had suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

He was thrilled also because he had been informed by his percussion band Qara Rosa to perform at the Brazil players' arrival at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore yesterday morning.

Not surprisingly, the 25-year-old data analyst was excited to be greeting his idols Roberto Firmino and Fabinho, who arrived in a mini-van along with Everton's Richarlison.

"The band was told on Saturday evening but I was informed only at about 11pm (on Sunday)," he told The New Paper.

"But I'm a fan of Brazil and it was too good a chance to miss.

"We made special arrangements to our respective schedules so we could head to work (or school) straight after and I pre-empted my manager who was understanding."

The seven-strong percussion ensemble, made up of Singapore Management University students and alumni, livened up the atmosphere with their loud drumming in samba batucada, a Brazilian percussion style.

What Firmino did later made Ahmad's day.

The Liverpool forward, 28, gave them a thumbs-up and went over to take a video with the band.

Joking that he wanted to check if Firmino's pristine white teeth are fake, Ahmad added: "I was not expecting much as they were probably tired from travelling, but it was nice that they acknowledged us and even entertained fans like us."

For the record, Firmino's teeth were given a shade of "maximo" white at his request, his dentist, who also treats several other Liverpool players, told BBC in an interview in April.

Brazil superstar Neymar, who wore a black Nike cap with his name embossed on the side in gold, also gave the percussion group a thumbs-up.

Neymar was among the first to arrive in a mini-van about 20 minutes earlier than the Merseyside trio, along with his Paris Saint-Germain teammates Thiago Silva and Marquinhos.

Like Richarlison, Marquinhos headed straight into the hotel with luggage in tow while others went over to the fans.

Fabinho was the most accommodating. He stayed for over two minutes to accede to as many requests for a photo or an autograph as possible.

Other Brazilian players such as Gabriel Jesus and Ederson will join up with the squad today for their double header against Senegal (Thursday) and Nigeria (Sunday) at the National Stadium.

Tickets are available on www.sportshub.com.sg. Ticket holders can enjoy discounts for next month's Battle of the Reds.

For details, go to : Dimitar Berbatov, Jerzy Dudek sign up for Battle of the Reds in S'pore

 

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Football