Stags set for National Stadium return
Tampines Rovers will play their AFC Cup Group E match against Selangor on May 10 at the National Stadium.
The New Paper reported on Feb 28 that the five-time S.League champions were eyeing the 55,000-capacity venue for the game instead of the Jalan Besar Stadium, where they are scheduled to play all their home games in the continental competition.
Club chairman Murali Krishna Ramachandra confirmed the Stags have been given the go-ahead by all the relevant parties.
This will make them the first S.League club to play a competitive match at the $1.33 billion Sports Hub, which opened in mid-2014.
Tampines were also the last local professional club to play a competitive match at the old National Stadium, when they beat Thai side Chonburi 3-2 to lift the Singapore Cup in front of 18,000 fans in November 2006.
Krishna told TNP: "I'm over the moon.
"If you were to rank all the achievements of Tampines over the past few months, I would say this is the highest.
"We are a proxy for Singapore (in the match against Selangor), and this makes me so proud."
Tampines have created waves in the local football scene since Krishna took over from long-serving Tampines chairman Teo Hock Seng last November.
A month after he was officially announced the Stags' new chairman, Krishna roped in Brazilian great Ronaldinho to launch a football academy here.
Then, two months later, Tampines signed former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant ahead of this season's Great Eastern Yeo's S.League, creating much-needed interest in the competition as well as making headlines across Asia and in the UK.
Two weeks ago, the club snared former Liverpool and France manager Gerard Houllier to be an ambassador of the club.
Krishna hailed the cooperation of all the relevant parties in helping him achieve his dream of watching his club play at the National Stadium.
"Everyone was so cooperative," he said.
"We had full cooperation from Manu (Sawhney, Sports Hub chief executive officer), Lim Teck Yin (Sport Singapore chief executive officer) and also the Football Association of Singapore, who stepped up and... helped clear everything up."
Tampines currently top Group E after three matches, and play Philippine side Ceres la Salle in Bacolod City on Tuesday night.