Friday, June 14, 2024

Commentary: Singapore football fans love South Korea’s Son Heung-min, but they should get behind our Lions too

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Compared to the last glamour tie we played (against a Lionel Messi-less Argentina in 2017), where some Singaporeans booed our own players, I could see shoots of positivity here.


As a passionate fan, my wish is, of course, that Singaporeans will get behind our own players a little more in future games.

Cheering for our home side should be our cause, even excited as we are to see our favourite club players in action. If we have to boo the opposition to be the 12th man for our underdog team, so be it. It does not make us rude or any less gracious as hosts.

“As a fan, you can’t just support the opposite player, which I totally understand,” was Son Heung-min’s classy response when asked at the post-match press conference about boos from Singapore fans.

But the beautiful game is ultimately just a game of 90 minutes.

How about before and after those 90 minutes? The Korean Association in Singapore led the way, printing cheer towels that proudly read “We love Korea and Singapore”.

Pre-match, my friends and I were in a karaoke bar outside the stadium, with some Korean fans at the next table. Sensing they might have felt a little awkward in a Mandopop-dominant setting, we made friends with them and sang a Korean song to break the ice.

The day after the game and after booing Son, I met up with the leader of the Korean cheer team and brought him around Singapore to try curry chicken noodles, bak kut teh and some local desserts.

We are gracious hosts, let’s be gracious too towards our own. Though our World Cup hopes are already dashed, some of the SingaBrigade will be in Bangkok, shouting themselves hoarse as usual when Singapore faces Thailand on Tuesday night. For the rest of us, let us cheer on the Lions through our screens.

Eddy Hirono is an in-house legal counsel and a fervent supporter of local football.

Catch the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier between Thailand and Singapore on Tuesday (Jun 11) from 8.20pm LIVE on 5, mewatch and Mediacorp Entertainment on YouTube.

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