Team's exit leaves Singapore fans shocked and disappointed
Local fans disappointed to learn of Singapore's exit from Malaysian football, again
Local football fans are still in shock following the Football Association of Malaysia's (FAM) decision late on Tuesday night to boot the LionsXII out of Malaysian football competitions next season.
In 2011, the FAM and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which saw both countries send a team each to take part in each other's football league from 2012.
The LionsXII became the first Singaporean side to play in the Malaysian league since 1994 while the Harimau Muda - a Under-23 Malaysian side - took part in the S.League.
But the abrupt end to the collaboration has left Syed Faris "devastated".
"We know it would end, but we didn't expect it to end so soon," lamented the 27-year-old technician.
Another fan, Muhammad Norman Abdul Samat, rues the death of a traditional football rivalry that both countries could certainly do with.
He also feels that the collaboration had injected some much-needed interest into the "dying" local football scene.
The 38-year-old customer service officer said: "Personally, I feel heartbroken. It means a lot.
"The rivalry between Singapore and Malaysia football teams is traditional. You cannot find it elsewhere.
"It's a different experience."
The LionsXII's departure from the Malaysian Super League will also hit some hard in the pocket.
Tour operator Akbar Hashim, who arranged for more than 30 busloads of LionsXII supporters to Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian FA Cup final in May, is one of them.
But he said: "They (the FAM) are the ones organising it and they have a right to decide who they want to invite.
"They must have their reasons, so we have to accept it and move on."
Others like Adzrul Azizi Bajuri is looking on the bright side.
While he feels that the LionsXII players have lost the chance to regularly compete against "stronger competitors", this is also an opportunity for the FAS to focus on building the domestic league.
"If the LionsXII cannot play in Malaysia, they should play in the S.League," the 17-year-old ITE College Central student said.
"We need to watch local football teams at matches (first).
"If more people go to the stadium and support them, they'll have more confidence (to compete against teams from other countries)."
All said, Singapore football fans must have felt a sense of deja vu after learning of the FAM's decision on Tuesday.
In 1995, Singapore withdrew from Malaysian football competitions following their 1994 League and Cup Double, after a dispute over gate receipts.
The FAM, meanwhile, has not ruled out a Singaporean team participating in their cup competitions, albeit only on an invitational basis.