|By Khalis Rifhan
Home United today unveiled their 2013 S.League squad in a manner unlike any of their counterparts at a grand reception in line with their ambitions of bringing home the silverwares this season, as well as to guide their youth to greater heights so as that they are capable of graduating into the senior squad in future.
The Protectors also paid tribute to the juniors in their ranks at the reception by holding its first Centre of Excellence (COE) award ceremony, which was held at Home Team NS-JOM on Saturday afternoon.
The title-winning Under-14 and Under-16 teams received their prizes on stage together with the top scorers and Most Valuable Players from the two respective age groups.
Chairman Anselm Lopez also presented all players from the various age-groups squad with a certificate of appreciation after his opening address, stressing the importance of youth development at the club.
“We value all [players] in our team from the juniors to the seniors and it is important to build a disciplined and committed youth [squad], and hopefully they will become a professional player one day,” he explained.
Tthe Bishan-based club had unveiled their star signing, former South Korean international Lee Kwan Woo and club captain Noh Rahman in Thursday, but the whole squad was in attendance on Saturday as they were presented with their new club jerseys by coach Paul Lee Lim Saeng.
Lee had announced the club's ambitions to challenge for the league and cup titles this season on Thursday, promising attractive football with 'a winning mentality' in order to become serious title contenders.
“The jersey symbolizes every player’s pledge to the club. When we are disciplined and committed in every game we play, we will succeed and strike fear in our opponents,” Lopez added.
“We must always remember to give our utmost respect to the other teammates, staff and also our passionate fans.”
After retaining only five players (Firdaus Idros, Nor Azli Yusoff, Sofiyan Hamid, Indra Sahdan and Masrezwan Masturi) from the previous year, the club have brought in the services of established players such as versatile defender Ismail Yunos, speedy wing-wizard Jordan Webb from Hougang United and former Singapore international goalkeeper Shahril Jantan.
The inclusion of Hafiz Rahim and Mustaqim Manzur will certainly add much-needed speed down the flanks and creativity in the middle, both of which were lacking last season.
The duo will be joined by former Courts Young Lions defender Sirina Camara, who will marshal the backline alongside former LionsXII defenders Juma’at Jantan and Sevki Sha’ban.
Also joining the club is Japanese striker Masato Fukui, who last played for Gainare Tottori in J.League 2, as well as 23-year-old Korean goalkeeper Jang Hong Won.
The Home United faithful can see their idols in action on February 21 at the Bishan Stadium at 7.30p.m. as they kick off their league campaign against last season's runners-up Brunei DPMM.
Home United 2013 S.League squad
|1||Jang Hong Won||GK|
|5||Noh Rahman (C)||MF|
|13||Lee Kwan Woo||MF|
|20||Nor Azli Yusoff||DF|