Amongst the glamour of the foreign stars, there was a tinge of Singapore football folklore not just on the pitch with the Lions Class of ‘94 but off it as well. The loudest cheers of the evening could be heard from Singapore fans, courtesy of the Lions All the Way Crew (LATW), whose voices and support for the Singapore Legends could be felt all around the arena.
LATW was started in 2011 by a group of enthusiastic Lions supporters and has grown from strength to strength. Their support includes about 500 supporters on their Facebook page alone of which a sizeable amount attend Lions XII and S-League matches regularly.
They describe themselves as the “unofficial supporters' group” for the National Team, made up of supporters of the S.League and anything to do with local football.
Our team from SSC caught up with Mohd Haikel and Ian Su, two members of the LATW crew, during the EPL Football Masters Singapore Cup 2012, and had them share with us some of their recollections of the Singapore Legends.
What brings you to the EPL Masters this year?
Haikel: To see the quality of the past stars in person for both the EPL stars and the Singapore Lions.
Ian: To support the Singapore Legends, watching the local players out there makes me proud that they represent the National Team of the past.
When did you start watching any of the Singapore Legends?
Haikel: My first game was in 1992 (relegation season) when I was just 7 years old. My uncle brought me to watch the Lions in the Malaysian League, but sadly I cannot recall who the opponent was. It’s so nice to see them again today.
Ian: I started in 1992 as a Primary 6 student. I went with my childhood friends during the 1992 season in the Malaysian League.
Who was your favourite Singapore Legend?
Haikel: Definitely Fandi Ahmad, but I must stress that in those years it was a team effort that brought glory to the team. You can see that even today, the telepathy is still there between the players.
Ian: The Late Borhan Abu Sama. A consistent and hardcore defender. He gave his best in every game.
What is the most memorable moment when watching any of the Singapore legends?
Haikel: The 1994 Malaysia Cup Final. There was this long pass from Malek Awab which Abaas Saad controlled and laid off for Fandi to perform his famous scissors kick.
Ian: It has to be the 1994 Malaysia Cup Final. The overall performance was the most memorable thing to date.
Can any of our current Singapore players emulate the Singapore Legends?
Haikel: I believe they can if we have belief in the players, and we give them room for development and most importantly, the fans must support them because without our support they will play in empty stadiums. Lastly player development must be about development for the long term, not just about short term glory.
Ian: Not at the moment but we can build future legends if we focus more on the S.League and development of local players. I would rather we take a 10-0 loss in an international game than beat a state team as it will not improve the National Team in the long term.