In a setting of an historic building and against the backdrop of a gothic-style chapel came the descent of three football legends.
Stephan Henchoz, Paul Parker and Singapore's all-time favourite footballing son, Fandi Ahmad, represented the Liverpool, Manchester United and Singapore Masters teams as they took to the stage to officially announce their respective teams' squad lists for the upcoming EPL Masters Football Singapore Cup 2012.
EPL Masters Football is an established indoor football tournament that has been running in the UK for over a decade now. It brings together legendary players from the best English Premier League and Scottish League clubs, to once again play for the sides that made them stars.
It’s not the first time that Henchoz is in Singapore, as he had fond memories of playing against the Lions about ten years ago during their Asia tour, and said that he is looking forward to an enjoyable tournament next month.
Despite his team making the finals during the Thailand edition, Parker believes that Liverpool stand a good chance of winning the tournament as they boast a team capable of lasting longer than the rest.
“Liverpool is a good side because they are relatively young and full of energy. They also have good players such as Phil Babb, who will make a big difference, and Phil Jones in goal, so they are a strong side in this competition,” said the former Red Devil.
Fandi is eager for the tournament to start, as he misses the days when he kept the crowds on their feet with his skills on the pitch.
“I miss a lot of my playing days, and also the ‘Kallang Roar’. It was my hunting ground back then. I've loved playing football throughout my life. It was all about passion."
Fandi also recalled the days when he nearly lost the opportunity to play in Europe but thanks to a stroke of luck, he was eventually able to sign a professional contract with Dutch side FC Groningen.
“When I was 16 years old, I could not leave Singapore as I was waiting for National Service. But I was released from service after one and a half years in the army, as they declared me unfit due to an operation which I had.
“I got a second chance after I won the championship in Indonesia with Niac Mitra. They [had] banned foreign players in the league, so I went back to Ajax but unfortunately they had a full quota, so they moved me to FC Gronigen,” he explained.
The organisers have designated a special area for both Liverpool and Manchester fans. There will be the Kop End reserved for the loyal Reds fans, while the other end will be the Stretford End for the vocal Manchester United fans.
Tickets for the EPL Masters Football Singapore Cup are now on sale at SISTIC at www.sistic.com.sg