Sportskeeda profiles Singapore Cup holders Home United ahead of their away clash against Churchill Brothers in the AFC Cup on Tuesday.
The club was originally formed as the Police Sports Association in the mid-1940s to organise football activities for the Singapore Police Force. They entered two teams in the Singapore Amateur Football Association League but neither side enjoyed any success in the 50s and 60s. Eventually a single new police team was formed and in 1968 they lifted the inaugural President’s Cup. In 1979, they joined the Singapore National Football League and within two years they moved up from the third to the first division and were crowned first division champions in 1985. When the S-League was launched in 1996, the club was called Police Football Club but the following season it was renamed as Home United to signify that the club represents other departments of the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs also.
Home United won their first-ever S-League title in 1999 and since that edition, they have always finished in the top five. Nicknamed as the ‘Protectors’, their only other league success came in 2003, when they also won the Singapore Cup and became the first club to achieve the double. Overall they have won the Singapore Cup six times with the latest one coming in 2013 and securing their place in the AFC Cup. 2014 is their seventh appearance in Asia’s Europa League and they have failed to get past the group stage only once in the past. Their best performance came in the inaugural edition in 2004 when they reached the semi-finals but lost to eventual winners Al Jaish from Syria. Home United’s last appearance was in 2012 when they were knocked out in the round of 16 stage.
Home United have retained most of the squad that won the Cup and finished runners-up in the S-League last season but there have been some significant additions as well. They signed Nigerian-born Singapore international Precious Emuejeraye besides recruiting young midfielders Fazli Ayob, Yasir Hanapi and Izzdin Shafiq. The club retained South Korean playmaker Lee Kwan-Woo and French defender Sirina Camara while the two new foreigners are South Korean Song In-Young and Brazilian-Japanese forward Bruno Castanheira. In-Young though hasn’t made the trip to India due to injury. The other major signing was veteran striker Qiu Li, who has had two previous spells at the club. South Korea’s 1998 World Cupper Lee Lim-Saeng has been their head coach since 2010 and Home United are known for playing a high-intensity pressing game under him.
Due to their strong finish last season and the heavy investment, Home United are considered to be among the favourites for the S-League title but have made a very slow start to their domestic campaign with just one win from three matches. However they have traditionally been slow starters so coach Lim-Saeng will surely have faith in his squad to mount a title challenge but the limited competitive action has affected their performances in the AFC Cup so far. Home United were beaten 1-0 by New Radiant on matchday one and then in the next match, where they were missing several regulars due to injury, the Singapore Cup winners could only manage a 1-1 draw at home with Indonesia’s Persipura Jayapura. As a result this away clash against Churchill Brothers has already become a must-win. Their only previous AFC Cup fixture on Indian soil was also in Goa when they held Dempo to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the 2008 quarterfinal, which the Indian side eventually won 5-4 on aggregate.
The 27-year-old centre-back is one of two Home United players who featured in Singapore’s last international match earlier this month. Yunos has started in each of their five games this season and will have to be at his best against Churchill’s attack.
The 36-year-old former South Korean international is in his second season at Home United and their key creative force. Lee was adjudged S-League’s player of the year last term and now would be aiming to inspire Home United to their first-ever victory in India.
The Chinese-born Singapore international rejoined Home United after impressing for Balestier Khalsa in the last campaign, scoring 12 times in the S-League. Li’s experience and quality will be vital for the S-League outfit in this away encounter.