SINGAPORE - It is arguably the most sought-after jersey number in football.
But the number 10 took on added significance yesterday at the Jalan Besar Stadium, as RHB Bank announced a deal that will take its title sponsorship of the Singapore Cup to a decade and beyond.
It is the third major extension secured by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in the past 15 months, alongside Great Eastern and Yeo's both renewing their co-title sponsorship of the S-League.
"This is further testament that big corporations believe strongly in the league's branding and are very confident of the commercial value it brings," FAS president Zainudin Nordin said.
Yesterday's signing ceremony saw RHB pen a three-year title sponsorship extension worth $1.5 million. To mark the occasion, 998 members of the local football fraternity took to the Jalan Besar pitch and wrote themselves into Singapore's record books by forming the longest football dribbling chain.
Among them was RHB Singapore country head Jason Wong, who later praised the growing stature of a tournament that has attracted foreign teams since 2004.
"Due to the regional presence of this competition, there is a natural synergy between FAS and RHB to work together as we expand our operations in ASEAN," Wong said.
Set to kick off on May 25, this year's competition will see 11 S-League clubs - minus the Courts Young Lions, who are set for a European training camp - joined by Svay Rieng, Nagacorp FC (both Cambodia), SHB Champasak (Laos) plus Global FC and Loyola Meralco Sparks (both Philippines).
They will provide stiff opposition for holders Home United, who are the only local side in Pool B following yesterday's draw.
"We treat this challenge as a positive one," said captain Juma'at Jantan, whose side will meet Nagacorp in the preliminary round.
"Facing sides with different styles can only improve our team and we will also this opportunity to challenge our opponents using our brand of attacking football."
This article was published on May 4 in The Straits Times.
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