English Premier League fans in Singapore are in for a real treat when Arsenal, Everton and Stoke City arrive for the Barclays Asia Trophy 2015 this July.
Local football legend V. Sundramoorthy, who will lead a Singapore Selection for the quadrangular tournament, was confident local supporters will back their favourite local and overseas heroes when they take to the pitch.
“We have a lot of passionate football fans in Singapore who watch these Premier League players on television week in, week out,” the Tampines Rovers head coach said.
“From my experience when I played against Liverpool and Manchester United ex-players in the Masters football, those who turn up usually will begin supporting their heroes first.
“When we were doing well, the same fans also started to cheer for us. Thus I am confident our local fans will support and appreciate good performances if our boys do well.”
The 49-year-old has begun his preparations for this assignment with a post-match discussion with current Brunei DPMM FC and former Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean on Sunday.
“Steve Kean was a former Premier League manager and we exchanged notes on taking on English Premier League opponents,” he said.
“I am confident the discussion we had on the league will help in preparing us for a good showing in this tournament.”
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright and ex-Everton midfielder Graham Stuart also believed their respective clubs would treat the Singapore assignment seriously as part of their pre-season preparations ahead of the 2015/16 season.
“The Barclays Asia Trophy is a brilliant pre-season competition where we will be ready to instil an early winning mentality from the go,” Wright said.
“Coming up against Premier League teams in pre-season, we have to be in competition mode and be ready to go.”
The prospect of testing their match fitness and sharpness against fellow league sides in pre-season also excited Stuart.
“We are going to come out to Singapore to compete and ready to showcase some of the brightest English talents we have produced,” the 1995 FA Cup winner said.
“You cannot ease off, but have to be ready to go in from the minute you cross the white line and get into action.”
Wright admitted the humidity could pose a test on the visiting teams’ endurance as they do battle in tropical conditions.
“Humidity is something we have to get used to, but we are excited at the prospect of playing in this tournament and go for it,” the former England international said.
The last word went to Sundram, who believed the conditions will be advantageous for the Singapore Selection to make their mark in the biennial invitational tournament.
“Playing at home and being familiar with the weather conditions suits us fine,” he said.
“From experience, the foreign sides will begin to experience difficulties after 60 minutes as they struggle with the humidity.
“Whoever is chosen will be excited and ready to compete against some of the best players in the world.”
Tickets to the Barclays Asia Trophy will be on sale to the general public from 10am on Wednesday, 13 May.comments