Valencia to play in Singapore next year
They brought along the old - club legends Gaizka Mendieta and David Albelda - along with someone new - exciting 20-year-old forward Santi Mina - showing their sincerity as they announced a year-long series of events called the Singapore Football Festival.
The initiative, organised in partnership with La Liga and supported by the Football Association of Singapore, will culminate in Valencia, owned by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim, playing one or two matches at the National Stadium post-season next year.
At a press conference at the Singapore Sports Institute yesterday afternoon, Valencia commercial and marketing director Peter Draper said: "This isn't just about coming and playing a game, but trying to give something to football in Singapore and the region.
"This is about embracing local football, working with the Football Association of Singapore to understand what it wants from its goals, and helping to build the sport in this country.
"We're going to start this year with some small things and build towards an event that will take place here at the National Stadium.
"This is a commitment to Singapore and, when we bring the team here, we hope we will have an amazing response next year at the National Stadium."
While most of Valencia's top players were not present because of next month's Euro 2016 and the Copa America, yesterday's conference was also attended by Valencia chairman and executive president Chan Lay Hoon, manager Pako Ayestaran and players such as Mathew Ryan, Jaume Domenech (above, in red) and Javi Fuego (above, left).
Meanwhile, Los Che also signed a three-year partnership agreement with S.League side Geylang International to run Spanish-style football clinics and camps to heartlanders in Bedok.
The new programme, which will kick off with the introduction of a Valencia CF Soccer School, will comprise 10-session and three-day courses which will teach boys and girls from 10 to 16 skills and techniques employed by their first-team players like Paco Alcacer and Mina.
Geylang chairman Ben Teng hopes to be able to identify top talents from the soccer school to take under the club's wings and play for the Eagles' Centre of Excellence Under-15 and Under-17 sides.
He said: "In the event that a very outstanding talent emerges, it may be possible for this talent to be provided with a training attachment at Valencia."
- DAVID LEE