Last Sunday, 55.000 soccer fans drowned the soon-to-be-demolished Kallang National Stadium in a sea of red to help crown the Singapore Lions to their second Tiger Cup against formidable Indonesia. Singapore surprised many when it took a comfortable 3-1 lead in the away leg at Jakarta's 'notorious' Senayan Stadium. Notorious because one can never subdue the emotions of the Indonesian soccer fanatics who can make life very difficult for their opposite numbers. Yet, the Singapore team was not unduly perturbed and went about playing disciplined football to silence both the 100,000 home crowd and their team. When Singapore played host last Sunday, it was Singapore's turn to show its appreciation to the unexpected good run by its relatively young team by turning up in full force and donning the red colours of the national team. In contrast, there was only a small pocket of about 500 white-shirted Indonesian supporters. Even before the game, victory was well expected and indeed, the Lions struck first to deny the Indonesians of making a comeback, which they did in KL during the second leg of their match against Malaysia and won despite losing the first leg. But a repeat of that match in Singapore was not to be and Singapore ended the 90 minutes with a 2-1 scoreline and an aggregate 5-2 against runners-up Indonesia. The impressive show of support from Singaporean fans was most unexpected and thoroughly welcomed. Despite have a professional league for about 10 years, Singapore football has been rather disappointing at both regional and international tournaments. So interest in the national team has dwindled and a big majority gave Singapore no chance at all in the Tiger Cup. It was therefore a big surprise to the fans that Singapore performed so well during the earlier stages and even survived to challenge for the title. I was so impressed with their outings that I even joined the small die-hard fan group to the first-leg semi final game against Myanma in Cheras, KL last December. The arduous coach journey to Cheras was well-worth as our boys beat the Myanmese convincingly and even elicited 3 red cards from them. Thailand was always at the forefront in Southeast Asian soccer, but somehow it failed to enter the second round or the semi-finals at this Tiger Cup, it having won twice previously. And Indonesia has managed to poach Thailand's two times winning coach, Briton Peter Withe, to mould the Indonesian players into such a tight fighting unit for the finals agains Singapore. Only Myanma (4th), Malaysia (3rd), Indonesia (2nd) and Singapore qualified for the semis. Singapore's success has much to do with the new Serbo-Montenegrin coach, "Raddy" Avramovic. Barely into his second year with the National team, he has transformed it with self-belief and confidence as a playing unit and now achieved success as the unofficial champion of SE Asian, which the Tiger Cup represents. There is still the Southeast Asian Games in Manila this year for the team to prove that the Tiger Cup victory is no fluke. Soccer is the number one sport in Singapore. It is well supported by the schools, the professional S-League, the commercial sponsors, a well organized FAS (Football Assn of Singapore) which is perhaps the richest sports institution in Singapore. And the FAS has a well laid out plan to ensure that soccer here is continuously supplied with young talents with its NFA (National Football Academy launched in Aug 2000 to handle the under-15, 16, 17, 18 and under-21 levels), the National Youth Football Academy (under-14 squad) and its Centres of Excellence (COE). How nice it will be to have 55,000 fans cheering for our badminton heros! But this will not be possible as current indoor stadiums are not even big enough to accommodate half that number. And, unlike the FAS, the SBA has still to work harder to attract talents and sponsors to support its cause. This again will also depend on the world body, the IBF, and how fast it could promote the game worldwide.