J-League a goal for local talent

J-League a goal for local talent
Mr Zaunudin Nordin (left), president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Mr Koichi Endo, managing director of Epson Singapore, signing a new sponsorship deal on 28 August 2013. Looking on is Mr Winston Lee (centre), general secretary of FAS.

Hariss Harun recently turned down a move to join Portuguese top-flight club Rio Ave.

But Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin remains confident a Singaporean footballer will play in a top professional league soon.

Speaking on the sidelines of the announcement of a $1-million, three-year sponsorship agreement between Japanese electronics giants Epson and the FAS yesterday, Zainudin said the deal could open another door for local players who want to ply their trade abroad.

Epson have sponsored second-tier J-League side Yamaga Matsumoto since 2005, and have been the official office equipment suppliers for English Premier League champions Manchester United since 2010.

Zainudin told The New Paper: "I am confident that in the next few years we will see our players play (professionally) in a higher league... the J-League? Why not?

Positive

"I hope our players can realise their dreams soon, and I'll continue to try my very best and always to stay positive."

Three weeks ago, TNP reported that Portuguese side Rio Ave, through the FAS' efforts, had offered Singapore midfield star and LionsXII vice-captain Hariss a professional contract.

While well behind the history, wealth and glamour of Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon, Rio Ave had only just missed out on a spot in this season's Europa League by a point.

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