Sadio Mane makes it worth the wait for Liverpool fans
It was an unfamiliar sight - Liverpool's Sadio Mane taking over two minutes to cover 20 metres - but not that any of the Reds' hardcore fans at Swissotel The Stamford were complaining.
The speedy forward, despite having a tight security detail around him, entertained requests for photos and autographs the moment he stepped foot in the hotel lobby and until he reached the lift lobby - a distance of about 20m.
Mane and his Senegal teammates are in town to face Brazil in an international friendly at the National Stadium tomorrow, as part of the Brazil Global Tour. The five-time world champions will then take on Nigeria on Sunday at the same venue.
The African Nations Cup runners-up touched down in Singapore at 3.22pm yesterday, after a 12-hour flight from Paris, and arrived at the hotel at 4.45pm.
Awaiting them were about 70 fans who were chanting and singing songs about Mane, as coach Aliou Cisse led the African side past the barricades.
Despite looking tired from their flight, most players wore a smile as they made their way to the lift lobby, with a few stopping to sign autographs.
But, there was no doubting who the fans' favourite was .
The decibel levels were raised by a few notches the moment Mane entered the lobby.
Liverpool fan Jeet Dhaliwal, who was in Madrid to watch her beloved team lift their sixth Champions League trophy and also in Istanbul for the Uefa Super Cup, was gushing after getting Mane's autograph.
The 63-year-old retiree, who had waited since 10am, said: "I've met Sadio many times in the UK, but I wasn't going to miss him in my homeland. I'm still shaking, it's just so hard to believe that he is here."
Darien Loh, who waited for two hours, was not as fortunate.
"I couldn't get anything as I was squeezed out," said the 39-year-old sales manager, who took a break from work to catch Mane.
"It was a long flight and he is not obliged to sign autographs for everyone. So, as a fan of Liverpool, I should be understanding."