Singapore to host the Sultan of Selangor's Cup on May 6
Sultan of Selangor's Cup will reignite old rivalry and now create a new one
In years gone by, hordes of fans would queue up to get their hands on that precious ticket that came with the privilege to witness Singapore heroes troop out on to the pitch at the Grand Old Dame, in battle against tribes from north of the Causeway.
The names of Samad Allapitchay, Quah Kim Song, Fandi Ahmad and V Sundramoorthy still roll off the tongue today, when the conversation moves to football, and inevitably to the glory days of Singapore in the Malaysia Cup.
The Sultan of Selangor's Cup harks back to the old rivalry between Singapore and Selangor, who have between them won over 70 major honours in Malaysian football.
But, this time, the SOS Cup is aimed at inducting the younger generation into this storied rivalry, building a bridge between a sepia tinted past and the bright high-definition of the future.
In addition to a veteran's contest and a match featuring a selection of current professionals in the S.League against their Selangor counterparts, the 16th edition of the SOS on May 6 at the National Stadium will see a Singapore Sports School's Under-16 side take on a Selangor Combined Schools team.
"(This SOS) is already successful because we are introducing a new cup for the future generation of footballers and that's the whole purpose behind the SOS - to keep the rivalry alive," said Tan Sri Dato Abdul Karim Munisar, chairman and team manager of the Sultan of Selangor's Cup.
He was speaking at a press conference where friendly jibes were traded between football icons Fandi and Malaysian legend Soh Chin Aun, with both sides clearly wanting victory.
But success will be defined by how many come to embrace this relationship built on a platform of football.
"Whether the cups stay here or go back to Selangor, that doesn't matter... Over and above everything, it's the crowd that matters," said Tan Sri Dato Abdul Karim.
It is a sentiment shared by Teo Hock Seng, group managing director of Komoco Motors Pte Ltd and co-chairman of the event.
"It's about time that we in Singapore host this very good relationship in football," said Teo, who was delighted to host the annual tourney in Singapore for the first time since 2009.
"The support from the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and the Singapore Sports Hub has been fantastic.
"I would define success by volume, not yield. We will open the stadium completely and, hopefully, we'll fill it up."
Selangor have declared that they will bring a crowd of 10,000 to the National Stadium, and Teo hopes that the tickets - priced between $3 and $8 - will see Singaporeans throng the crown jewel of the Singapore Sports Hub.
But, with all three trophies on display at the Concorde Hotel yesterday, it was clear that victory is not far from the minds of all involved.
"Mr Teo wants to win it, so we will get the best players available," said Fandi, who will coach the Singapore Selection side.
His signal of intent was matched by the visitors from Selangor.
"I will bring 10,000 fans from Selangor... And, after the match, we'll take the cup back with us," said Tan Sri Dato Abdul Karim with a hearty laugh.
- Tickets for the match are priced at $8 for adults and $3 for concession, and are available for purchase via www.sportshubtix.com.