Tampines, Albirex give thumbs up to host S.League community shield at National Stadium

The Sports Hub has also welcomed the proposed move to host the match at the iconic stadium.

S.League at National Stadium
Football fraternity has welcome the move - Representative image Reuters

Tampines Rovers and Albirex Niigata are likely to face each other in the 2017 S.League season's curtain-raiser - the charity shield match - at the National Stadium in February.

This will also be the first time a match involving an S.League team will be held at the 55,000-seater stadium after Tampines' 1-0 win against Malaysia's Selangor in the group stages of 2016 AFC Cup. The Stags, who play their league matches at the 4,200-seater Jurong West Stadium, saw a turnout of around 11,500 for the match.

S.League officials are mulling to host the next season's first match between the quadruple winners Albirex and their arch rivals Tampines and the Sports Hub has also welcomed the proposed move, according to a report on The New Paper.

Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra heaped praise on the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) for coming up with the idea. The local league, which has seen dwindling crowds in the recent past, will get a boost if the iconic National Stadium hosts the season opener, according to the 45-year-old lawyer.

"That [the proposed move] will just be an amazing way to herald the new season and to put the past firmly behind us. It is also positive that the FAS has taken the lead in arranging this," Krishna said, as quoted by the news daily.

"Now it remains for the other stakeholders to play their parts and work collectively to get the crowds in and do justice to the season opener."

Albirex vice-chairman Koh Mui Tee stresses on the need to remove negativity surrounding the league and according to him, hosting the match at the National Stadium will be the first step towards that direction.

"There is a lot of negativity in the football fraternity. If we keep staying negative and just do the same old things, nothing will improve. I hope even the people who don't think much of local football take action and come and watch," Koh said.

"There have been many calls (from the public) for the FAS to give greater attention to the league, and this is a great move in that direction."