Tsutomu Ogura calls for Kallang Roar to be on Singapore's side in South Korea clash

Singapore's National Stadium is expected to hold a sellout crowd of 50,000 when the Lions take on South Korea on Thursday, which will surpass a previous record of 48,183 set back in 2014. Suhaimi Abdullah/NurPhoto via Getty Images

For the first time in almost a decade, Singapore will play in front of a sellout crowd when they entertain South Korea in the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

50,000 fans are expected to turn up at Singapore's National Stadium on Thursday -- a number that will eclipse the previous record for a national team game since the arena was opened in 2014: a 48,183 figure at an ASEAN Championship clash with bitter rivals Malaysia in 2014.

Attendances for the Lions' home games have admittedly been healthy throughout their World Cup qualifying campaign, passing the 28,000-mark in previous outings against Thailand and China.

Still, there could be an obvious explanation for the expected surge expected on Thursday, given the fact that South Korea being in town also means the presence of some of the sport's famous names such as Tottenham captain Son Heung-Min and fellow Premier League star Hwang Hee-Chan to name but a couple.

Singaporean fans have long relished the opportunity to see world-class names in action at National Stadium, and Son himself was undeniably the star attraction a year ago when Tottenham took on local club Lion City Sailors in a preseason friendly.

But while there were allusions in Wednesday's pre-match news conferece to the fact that fans could be turning out to see the likes of Son and Hwang in action as opposed to cheering for the hosts, Singapore coach Tsutomu Ogura was optimistic that would not necessarily be the case.

"With our supporters turning up, if we try our best, then [it could lead to a] good atmosphere," Ogura replied to ESPN.

"If that happens, then we can make sure the Kallang Roar (the colloquial term for the Singapore fans in full voice) is coming to our support.

"This, for the players, would be very good for our football."

Ogura's sentiments were echoed by defender Safuwan Baharudin, who said: "Honestly, you do miss this kind of home crowd feeling.

"in 2014, it was because it was the Causeway derby (against Malaysia). Now, [it is because] you're playing many stars in the [opposition] team.

"To have the home fans coming, it's definitely motivation for us to do well. When you have them backing [you] up, you have more hunger to succeed." The support of the home fans will certainly come in handy given the magnitude of the task at hand coming up against one of the continent's powerhouses.

Yet, after a couple of heartening displays against China last time out, Ogura is also aware his team should not be overly fearful of their more-illustrious opponents.

"Of course, we have respect for the South Korea team," he added.

"But we have to be sensitive in how we approach the game.

"We have to [have] concentration for 90 minutes, as hard as we can. Then, we can do our best."