Singapore-Selangor clashes: A rivalry unmatched

Singapore-Selangor clashes: A rivalry unmatched

The cast, over a lengthy period, is obviously very different.

The complexion of the teams over the generations has changed dramatically.

The competition format - after a 17-year hiatus for Singapore - has been tweaked.

The competition's name change from Malaya Cup/Malaysia Cup to Malaysian Super League (leading to the Malaysia Cup) seems cosmetic.

But what remains is the Singapore-Selangor rivalry that is intense, the battle overflowing with passion and sometimes seen as a war of attrition.

So tonight's LionsXII versus Selangor MSL match at the Jalan Besar Stadium, a venue that saw some historic games in the 1950s to the 1970s, is special.

It evokes the minds, tickles the memories and takes those who remember the titanic battles of yesteryear down memory lane.

In fact, the first Malaya Cup final in October 1921 was between Singapore and Selangor, the former winning 2-1 in Kuala Lumpur.

Then they met 14 more times in the final before the competition was renamed Malaysia Cup in 1967.

That was the period when the likes of the mercurial Rahim Omar, maestro Majid Ariff and stylish Quah Kim Swee gave Singaporeans special reasons to turn up to for matches against Selangor, who boasted the fabulous four of Abdul Ghani, Stanley Gabrielle, Edwin Dutton and Arthur Koh.

But, when that era of heroes called it quits and the National Stadium at Kallang surfaced, the Singapore-Selangor rivalries had added impetus and oomph because the regular sight of 55,000 screaming fans was one to behold.

It was a period when stardom was everywhere and superheroes were aplenty.

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