The International Champions Cup 2019 Singapore leg kicked off earlier today with Manchester United taking on Inter Milan at the Singapore National Stadium. As many as 52,897 fans flocked to the stadium for the encounter and a similar number can be expected when Juventus take on Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
While it was a special occasion for the United fans in the region, who came out in numbers to support the Red Devils, fans across ASEAN nations had a glorious opportunity to watch the best of European footballers in action. And Sunday’s Juventus vs Spurs will be another one of those huge occasions.
Competitions like the International Champions Cup are like a boon to the fans who are deprived of the opportunity to watch their teams play on a weekly basis. It was evident from the turnout that the fans didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity as they came in from all around the region – Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and more.
“Great way to give something back to their fans in Asia”
One of the thousands of attendees at the Singapore National Stadium was a 12-year-old United fan from Singapore, Hoo Fang Zhi. A big fan of Paul Pogba, he has been following the Red Devils for five years now. Accompanying him was his sister Hoo Fang Qi, who told us that tournaments like ICC are of extreme importance to the football fans in the region.
“It’s very important for the fans as we get to see our favourite players from up close,” she told us.
Another fan at the stadium exclaimed how it is a way for the clubs to give something back to the fans in the region. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone here. We don’t really get to go to Old Trafford so it’s a great way to give something back to their fans here in Asia,” he said.
“Can add more venues like Malaysia or Indonesia”
Mohd Nabil Ifwat Mohd Nasir, a Real Madrid fan from Malaysia, travelled to Singapore to watch United play Inter and was thankful for the opportunity to watch top European stars in action.
“It’s a great experience and hard to get anywhere else. It helps the fans to see their favourite team play in front of their eyes. It is great to see two strong teams against each other. I think ICC should be organised every year but maybe they can try add more venues like Malaysia or Indonesia. Hopefully, I can see Real Madrid playing in this region next year,” he said while in conversation with FOX Sports Asia.
Mohd Khairul Nizam, a big Manchester United fan, flew into Singapore this morning from Malaysia to watch the Red Devils live. He is hopeful that they will return in the coming years so that he doesn’t have to wait long to watch United play again.
“I am a Manchester United supporter, so getting the chance to watch my beloved team in front of my eyes is amazing, especially because we won. ICC is a good platform for clubs to meet their fans in other countries. Not everyone have the financial capabilities to fly to Europe and watch these teams. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait long for Manchester United coming again to this region.”
Big chance for Indonesia fans after United had to cancel Jakarta tour 10 years ago
United were set to visit Jakarta back in 2009, however, bombing at the hotel they were supposed to stay in forced them to cancel the Indonesia leg of their Asian tour. A United fan from the country, Carla Almira, told us that the incident deprived the fans of a golden opportunity but the Singapore leg of ICC comes as a welcome move.
“The effects of this cup especially for Asian and ASEAN fans is huge. Especially for Indonesian fans who 10 years ago almost watch Manchester United in Jakarta but cancelled because the bomb incident, but this year match is worth to wait, even they didn’t come to Indonesia but Singapore is the closest for us who lives in Indonesia, so this is a big chance for us to see the players up close and personal,” Almira said.
“It affects a lot to me and all United fans in Indonesia. Because I can see my favourite players running in front of me and not seeing them on the tv anymore, you can’t change those kinds of feelings, the experience is amazing. And trust me, watching your favourite team live in the stadium is an experience that you can’t compare with anything,” another Manchester United fan from Indonesia Nicko Baskara told us.
The second encounter of the Singapore leg of ICC 2019 will be played between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur and you can follow all the live updates on FOX Sports Asia.