Date Sep 06, 2014
VenueSingapore Sports Hub Stadium Riverside Walk
They might have played together on the world stage at multiple World Cups, but five decorated Portuguese footballers are taking on the street football court right here in Singapore.
Tiger Street Football returns to Singapore this Saturday 6 September, with some added star power in the form of five former Portuguese national team players, namely Deco, Maniche, Paulo Ferreira, Nuno Gomes and Vitor Baia.
With club and country level titles to their names, they are set to take on a "star selection" team of street football players from across the region. And the match venue is at a cage set up at the riverside in front of the National Stadium.
Prior to arriving in Singapore, Deco, the former Chelsea and Barcelona player, was in Mongolia and Cambodia in August to witness the knockout stages in the respective countries.
While the playmaker, who has 75 caps for Portugal, is more used to playing in stadiums with hundreds and thousands of fans, he prefers the intimate setting of the cage.
He said: “When I started to play football, I played futsal on a small pitch. When you are playing in a stadium, it’s different, but here (in the cage) you enjoy more because you have the ball for more of the time, and you can score more goals.”
RETIRED, STILL GOT IT
For the five-a-side tournament, he will be joined by four of his former national team-mates and friends.
They will ideally take the positions that they used to play, namely goal for Vitor Baia, defence for Paulo Ferreira, midfield for Deco and Maniche, and the frontlines for former striker Nuno Gomes.
(From left to right) Vitor Baia, Maniche, Deco, Asia Pacific Breweries head of marketing Rene de Monchy, Paulo Ferreira and Nuno Gomes
Now all retired from professional football, Deco joked that he had chosen them “because they have more time now!”
“They are good and we’ve played together for many years, and we know each other very well. They were the best ones to bring,” he said.
The tournament returns for its fourth instalment with eight teams from the region, including two teams each from Cambodia, Mongolia and Singapore, an Australian team and last year’s winner Dat Vinh Tien from Vietnam. They will battle it out for a US$40,000 (S$50,200) prize.
For the Singapore leg of Tiger Street Football, there will also be an exciting rule change in the form of a "joker card" for each team, where they can introduce a sixth player in the game for a two-minute period during the game.
The tournament begins at 3.05pm, breaking for an exhibition match at 6.05pm between Deco and friends, and a selection squad made up of players from competing teams. The finals will be followed by a prize presentation as well as a meet-and-greet with the five footballers. Admission is free.