|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
The 2013 StarHub League Cup draw was held at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday evening and the competition will see a National Football League (NFL) side in Admiralty FC compete alongside the S.League clubs.
With five winners in its short six-year history, the League Cup promises to be a thrilling and competitive tournament for the fans, and the addition of Admiralty means an amateur side will be pitted against full-fledged professional teams for the first time ever in the competition.
In Group D, it will be a battle of the ‘Cup winners’ as defending champions Brunei DPMM will be up against last season's Singapore Cup champions Warriors FC, as well as Balestier Khalsa, who lifted the Plate trophy in last year's edition.
Meanwhile, reigning league champions Tampines Rovers will do battle in Group B against Courts Young Lions and Tanjong Pagar United. Last season's finalists Geylang International are drawn in Group C alongside the Cheetahs of Hougang United and Jurong East-based club Albirex Niigata.
Group A will see Lee Lim Saeng’s Home United go head to head against the three north-eastern clubs of Woodlands Wellington, Harimau Muda and the Wolves from Admiralty.
S.League CEO Lim Chin, who pioneered the new initiative on including a NFL side, was more than happy to have Admiralty to join the tournament proper.
“We are pleased to involve the NFL teams in one of the biggest professional cup competitions in Singapore, as we have always regarded them as a big part of the local football fraternity," he explained.
“This is also a good chance for NFL to experience a professional level of football, which will aid in their long term development.
“I would like to congratulate Admiralty FC for successfully qualifying for this year’s StarHub League Cup and wish all teams the very best.”
Local telecommunications giant and tournament title sponsor StarHub has also extended their sponsorship for the League Cup, which will be kicking off next month, following the successful conclusion of the first StarHub-sponsored League Cup in 2012.
“The S.League is also pleased with the continued support from StarHub, and we look forward for a very exciting tournament ahead," Lim Chin said.
Also present at the draw was Lee Soo Hui, and the head of StarHub's media business unit spoke in tandem with Lim's aspirations for the League Cup.
“We are impressed by the success of last year’s StarHub League Cup and want to continue supporting the StarHub League Cup in its efforts to engage football fans," Lee added.
“The inclusion of the NFL teams directly ties the StarHub League Cup back to the community and gives amateur teams the valuable chance to experience top-level competition in the Cup.”
The 2013 StarHub League Cup will kick off in June and details of the fixtures will be released in due course. StarHub will broadcast the StarHub League Cup final ‘live’ on SuperSports Arena (StarHub TV Channel 112/201).
SuperSports Arena is a complimentary sports channel available to all StarHub TV customers. Viewers can also watch the ‘live’ matches on any Internet-enabled PC, Mac, iPad or tablet on TV Anywhere at www.starhubtvanywhere.com.