2 giants in Lion City cup

2 giants in Lion City cup

The current stars of the English Premier League (EPL) will parade their talent here when the Barclays Asia Trophy comes to town on Wednesday but, come August, football fans can get a glimpse of the future stars during the 26th Lion City Cup.

The Under-15 teams from English giants Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will join Singapore's National Football Academy (NFA) U-15 and U-16 squads to contest this year's edition of the Cup.

The event will take place on Aug 14 and 16 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

"It is a very exciting prospect to get the youth players of two of the biggest sides in English football to compete with our boys," said Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin at yesterday's press conference at the Oasia Hotel.

"I am confident that our NFA boys can spring a surprise in the tournament and give the teams from England a run for their money," he added.

Current and past Liverpool players who have graduated from the Reds' academy include Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Jon Flanagan and Jordon Ibe.

Spurs also have one of the best youth set-ups in the world, with 2014-15 EPL sensation Harry Kane and fellow England internationals Andros Townsend and Ryan Mason coming through their academy.

Since it was founded in 1977 by the former FAS chairman and lawyer N. Ganesan, who died earlier this month, the competition has helped to unearth talents both locally and internationally.

Local football luminaries Fandi Ahmad, V. Sundramoorthy, Indra Sahdan and current national captain Shahril Ishak first hit the headlines by shining in the competition.

Indra, who helped to conduct the draw yesterday, said: "It was a big tournament for me.

"It was through the Lion City Cup that I was recognised. I was 13 when I played and, back then, it usually involved regional teams.

"To have Liverpool and Tottenham as opponents this year is a privilege that I hope the boys cherish."

This year's edition will see Fandi's second son Ikhsan turn out for the NFA U-16s.

It will provide an opportunity for him to attempt to follow in the footsteps of his father and older brother, Irfan, who scored in the 2-1 defeat by the Arsenal U-15s in the 2012 edition of the Cup.

"The tournament has provided a big platform for players around the world to make a name for themselves and I am glad that the FAS has given us the opportunity to stage the Lion City Cup again," said R. Sasikumar, managing director of Red Card, which is the competition's organiser.

Tickets go on sale from Tuesday, with prices from $5 to $25.

They can be purchased online at www.globaltickets.sg or at the Jalan Besar Stadium from Wednesday.


This article was first published on July 11, 2015.
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