SINGAPORE - She was the first to arrive at the LionsXII Celebration Dinner with her parentson Sunday night, and positioned herself right next to the players' tables.
And once the players reached the Gayatri Restaurant at Orchid Country Club, 11-year-old S Kirthana was the quickest off the mark in a hunt for the autographs of her heroes.
Said the Admiralty Primary School pupil: "They work as a team to score goals, and it makes me proud to be Singaporean, because they are the only Singapore team playing in the MSL, and they won."
"My father makes me finish my revision and all homework before I'm allowed to go to the Jalan Besar Stadium to watch games, and I remember my first match - that 1-1 draw with Selangor. I met my friend there and we screamed and shouted till we lost our voices."
Her mother, Vijayarani, said that the present crop of players remind her of the 1980s, when the Malaysia Cup dominated the local football scene.
Said the nurse: "In the 1970s and 1980s, I used to watch the Singapore team in the Malaysian League, and I can still remember many things, like that Sundram bicycle- kick goal (8-0 win over Brunei in 1993)."
"And these days, you can hear people screaming from their homes when these boys play and score. It really reminds me of the old days."
Nur Fatenan, 12, and her 8-year-old brother Mohamed Fadlil were similarly awed in the presence of their heroes.
"We were so excited about being able to meet the players that we couldn't sleep last night, we were awake till midnight," said Nur.
"My favourite players are Shahril Ishak, Baihakki Khaizan and Faris Ramli, but when I grow up, I want to be like Faris."