Singapore could defend title at home in 2014

SINGAPORE - Shahril Ishak could well lead the Singapore team out at the spanking new National Stadium in the defence of their AFF Suzuki Cup in 2014.

On Sunday, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) confirmed its interest in hosting the next edition of the biennial regional football tournament at the Singapore Sports Hub upon its completion in 2014.

Addressing the fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium at the end of the Lions' AFF Suzuki Cup victory parade, Football Association of Singapore (FAS) vice-president Lim Kia Tong said: "The sea of red you've created at the Jalan Besar Stadium, your electrifying and piercing chants, your deadly roar has brought new life in Singapore football.

"You've galvanised the nation and, in 2014, your roar will be needed."

The New Paper broke the story earlier this month citing sources, but FAS general secretary Winston Lee confirmed it on Sunday.

Approached by TNP on the hosting issue, he said: "We've indicated our interest to host the 2014 edition to the Asean Football Federation (AFF) in a meeting several months ago.

"We haven't ironed out the specifics - such as whether there'd be co-hosting countries or not - but the decision will be made early next year and I am optimistic of our chances."

Singapore has hosted or co-hosted the competition three times in 1996, 2002 and 2007.

It is believed that with Malaysia and Thailand having co-hosted this year's edition, the AFF could award hosting rights to other countries.

As the likes of Myanmar, Laos, Brunei, Timor Leste and Cambodia have to go through qualifiers, which are usually hosted by one of the five countries, that leaves Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines as options.

Azkals manager Dan Palami previously told TNP that should the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena be completed as expected in July 2014, his country would also be keen to co-host the Suzuki Cup for the first time.

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