Vietnamese team Dat Vinh Tienh have retained their Tiger Street Football title, defeating seven other contenders at the fourth edition of the prestigious event on Saturday.
Witnessed by a packed crowd of more than 1,500 people at the Singapore Sports Hub's Riverside Walk, the defending champions beat Mongolian team Blue Wolves 6-3 in a nail-biting Grand Final showdown to taken home USD40,000 — the biggest prize purse in the region for an international street football tournament.
Singaporean team Touch N Go were unlucky to miss out, losing the third-placed playoff to Daniel FC, while the other local representatives, MNA-CPG finished in sixth place.
The fans were also treated to a celebrity match involving some star names, as tournament ambassador Deco and his ex-Portugal teammates Vitor Baia, Paulo Ferreira, Maniche and Nuno Gomes took to the court together with lucky fan Eric Yap, who was selected from a pool of respondents from Tiger Beer's Facebook page.
Deco had been selecting some of the best players in the tournament to join the team to face them, and Deco's Star Selection on this day was rounded off with two more picks in Touch N Go's Sim Yi Long (Singapore) and Dat Vinh Tien's Nguyen Quoc Bao (Vietnam).
They joined previous selections Dani Kouch and Phon Chanudom (Cambodia's Daniel FC) and Turbat Daginaa (Mongolia's Blue Wolves).
In an entertaining match up which saw the ex-internationals wow the crowd with some slick moves, Deco & Friends triumphed with a narrow 8-7 win over their challengers.
“I have grown up watching these stars on television. It was amazing enough to be able to meet with some of the most respected players from Portugal, so, to step on to a court and be playing on their team was honestly the most surreal experience," Yap said.
"I made a few mistakes here and there but the team backed me up, I will treasure this experience forever!”
Tiger Street Football 2014 ambassador Deco also had a few last words as the tournament came to a close.
“Football to me has always been about the heart. A game to bring friends together, to challenge one another and to bring out the best in each other," he said.
"I am so happy to have been part of Tiger Street Football this year; it has been a humbling and enjoyable experience spending time with other players who wear their passion on their sleeves.
"I will take away many memories, especially playing against my talented Star Selections!
"I wish all the participants the very best and hope they keep their enthusiasm alive, and congratulate Dat Vinh Tien on their great and deserving win."
Image Credit: Weixiang Limcomments