Should Singapore return to Malaysian football?

Singapore Lions XLL player Faris Ramli (right) plays against KL Felda United in the 2013 Malaysian Super League. (File photo: Mohd Fyrol/AFP, Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — When Singaporean football hits tough times, the long-standing suggestion of a return to Malaysia’s top flight always comes up among fans.

It’s easy to see why. The history of the two countries has given the ’causeway rivalry’ a strong appeal on both sides of the Strait of Johor. While Singaporean fans love it when the Lions defeat their larger neighbor’s state team, Malaysian fans love nothing more than denying their smaller neighbor a league title.

There is certainly plenty of emotion in this rivalry, as fans packed into both countries’ national stadiums to witness the fierce clashes of the 1970s and 1980s. The footballer who brought glory became a hero, and the coach who instilled pride and resilience in his team was praised.

As such, we miss such memories, especially as the domestic Singapore Premier League has failed to produce soccer stars that bring back crowds of 50,000 or more. I can understand that there are fans who want to go back to that era. To the stadium.

But times have changed. Both Singapore and Malaysia have recognized that the best way to develop local football talent is not by constantly playing against each other, but by ensuring their domestic leagues are competitive enough for players to hone their skills. are doing.

Returning Singapore to the Malaysian League is a short-term solution. While spectators will come back to see teams competing in Malaysia, the domestic league will suffer and ultimately it is not a solution to improve Singaporean football in the long term. Run.

A good example is the Lions XII experiment, which ran from 2012 to 2015. During those four seasons, the S-League at the time struggled for attendance numbers and quality, while the U-23 team performed well, winning the Malaysian Super League title and the Malaysian FA Cup.

Check out our podcast, Football Weekly. Co-hosts Neil Humphries and Chia Hung Keong and guest Haitham Shah discuss the pros and cons of Singapore returning their team to the Malaysian Super League.

Follow the new EPL season with all this week’s segments Football Weekly show on YouTube. If you would like to listen to the entire show, please visit the show’s site. spotify and cast page.

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