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Everton and Juventus among Teams for Lion City Cup 2011


Imagine Singapore’s YOG star Hanafi Akbar challenging the future Wayne Rooneys, Adrianos
and Rui Costas for the top scorer’s award in this tournament. (Photo: FAS)

This June, our national Under-15 team and the boys from the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) squad will get the chance to come up against youth teams from Everton, Juventus, Benfica and Flamengo in the 23rd Canon Lion City Cup 2011. This could present the chance for young local strikers like YOG star Hanafi Akbar to challenge the likes of future Wayne Rooneys and Adrianos, players developed by the youth setups at Everton and Flamengo respectively, for the Golden Boot when the tournament kicks off at the Jalan Besar Stadium from 18 to 27 June.

 

After a two year absence, the Under-16 competition, which unearthed Singapore football stars such as Fandi Ahmad, V. Sundramoorthy and Indra Sahdan, will see a new title sponsor in Canon Singapore. The tournament will be co-organised by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and regional sports marketing agency, The Red Card, who have been awarded the commercial right for the event for the next three years up to 2013. R. Sasikumar, managing director of The Red Card hopes that with the YOG and the exploits of the young footballers still fresh on their minds, Singaporeans will come out in full force to back the Singapore youth teams participating in the event.

 

“We want to re-ignite the passion Singaporeans have for football - the same passion that filled the stands when our YOG boys beat Montenegro in their bronze medal match,” said Sasikumar. “We believe that the Lion City Cup is the perfect tournament to do so. Commercially, we feel that the project offers great value to our partners to be involved in the event.”

 

The structure of the tournament will follow that of the YOG, with the six teams pooled into two groups of three, playing in a single round robin format. The top two teams from each group will progress into the semi-finals where they will vie for a place in the finals to be played on 27 June 2011.

 

“Our aim is to build a tournament that will eventually see the best youth teams in the world bring their style of football to our soil,” added Sasikumar, who also revealed that talks are in the pipeline to get the 2004 and 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldinho, now with Flamengo, here as a guest for the event.

 

In line with its Strategic Plan 2010-2015, FAS is delighted with the return of the tournament, which first started in 1977, as it provides Singapore’s elite young talents with competitive match exposure against the youths of some of the top club sides in the world.

 

“With our emphasis now on youth development, the tournament is also part of our long-term commitment to prepare our National Football Academy Under-15 and Under-16 players who are now being groomed and developed to participate in the 2014 Asian Games and the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games,” said FAS President Zainudin Nordin. “With the high level of quality from the foreign teams, this year’s competition will play its part in providing our young talents with the competitive and world class match exposure.”

 

The organisers also announced that StarHub has come onboard as the tournament’s broadcast partners and will telecast all of the 10 matches of this year’s tournament ‘live’ for football fans here to watch on SuperSports Arena (StarHub TV Channel 201).