Maybe, just maybe, the fortune of The New Paper-Qatar Airways contest winner Toby Ng rubbed off on the Lions.
After all, the Singapore national football team pulled off an impressive 0-0 draw against Bahrain to kick off their Asian Cup qualifying campaign on Tuesday with the 24-year-old business management undergraduate travelling to the relatively far-flung destination for the first time to support them.
Ng had won a four-day, three-night trip to Bahrain culminating in the match-day experience at the Bahrain National Stadium.
He and his mother Pauline Sng were given VIP treatment from the start, as they were upgraded to business class on their flight on board the A350 XWB from Singapore.
Qatar Airways was the first airline to operate the A350 XWB from Singapore back in May 2015.
"It feels unbelievable. When I first signed up for the contest, it was 'just whack', I did not expect to win," said Ng.
"We were pleasantly surprised by Qatar Airways, who upgraded us to their luxurious business class, and their in-flight service was friendly and top-notch."
During the four days, Ng and his mother toured the city, visited Barbar Temple, the Grand Mosque and the Royal Camel Farm.
They stayed at the Downtown Rotana hotel, where they mingled with the Lions.
Ng, who has been supporting the Lions since 2007 and whose favourite player is striker Khairul Amri, said: "The highlight is definitely the opportunity to meet the players up close and personal.
"A day before the match, we even got to enter their dressing room before their training and it was an awesome feeling to be in the same room as all of them.
"I admit I was starstruck to see these footballers before I recovered in time to have a conversation and take some wefies with them."
Ng hopes the Lions can build on their good start to their Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
He said: "I would tell them to keep calm and continue to work hard as this is only the first out of six qualifiers. I would definitely be supporting them in the matches to come.
"It has been a great pleasure and an eye-opener to follow the national team and watch them play a competitive match.
"Thanks to The New Paper, Qatar Airways and the Lions, my mother and I had a great experience to remember."
This article was first published on March 31, 2017.
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