It was the end of a whirlwind journey through Asia for Aussie street footballers, The Latin Lovers.
The Sydney-based team were eliminated in Round 7 of the Singapore leg of the Tiger Street Football tournament, falling 6-3 to Vietnamese team and eventual champions Dat Vinh Tien.
More than 1500 fans packed the Singapore Sports Hub Riverside Walk to witness the culmination of the fourth edition of the football finals on the weekend.
Dat Vinh Tien players pocketed a cool US$40,000 – the biggest prize purse in Asia for street football – after comfortably defeating Mongolian outfit Blue Wolves 6-3.
The Latin Lovers came in 7th overall in the all-expenses paid tournament that took them from Cambodia to Mongolia and finally Singapore as the best eight teams in the region battled it out to be crowned the champions of Asia.
Singapore showcased smooth defence alongside intense tackles, under a refreshed format that had the teams playing on a pitch that was literally uncaged and increased in size, with a reduced size 4 match ball.
The world-first new format brought out the most creative, agile and instinctive style of play for street football across the region, allowing the players to show off their skills.
At the launch of the competition in August fans were also invited to visit UncageFootball.com to propose game-changing rules to enhance the game’s dynamism. The best three suggestions incorporated were:
- Three versus three in second half if scores are tied at half time
- Ball cannot stay in own half for more than 30 seconds
- Add one more player to your team for two minutes
In one of the highlights of the series, Tiger Street Football ambassador and legendary Portuguese player, Deco, selected outstanding performers from the tournament for his Stars Selection team.
Meanwhile one lucky fan lined up with Team Deco – which included retired Portuguese stars Nuno Gomes, Paulo Ferreira, Maniche and Vitor Baia.
In a closely fought exhibition match the honours went to Team Deco 8-7.