News Singapore Premier League • February 22, 2019
Community Shield: Home aim to match new-look Albirex
SINGAPORE, 22 FEBRUARY 2019 – They are regarded as perennial title contenders every season, but Home United have not won the Singapore Premier League (SPL) since 2003.
It is a streak that Saswadimata Dasuki is keen to end this season as they prepare to start the 2019 campaign, which will kick off with a tantalising Community Shield showdown against Albirex Niigata (S) tomorrow evening.
The Protectors finished as league runners-up to their Japanese opponents last season and Saswa will use the season-opener at Jalan Besar Stadium as a gauge of where they stand.
“I hope it’ll be an exciting game as both teams play attacking football,” he said at the pre-match press conference earlier this afternoon at Jalan Besar.
“For us, we’d like to catch up with Albirex… our target is to try and win the title but we also know that Albirex, Tampines (Rovers) and maybe Hougang (United) have also strengthened; it’s not going to be easy (but) hopefully we can achieve the goals we want.”
The White Swans have a new man in charge as well, but Keiji Shigetomi’s target remains the same: to win every trophy available like they have done for the past three years.
New regulations that stipulate Albirex have to sign at least four local players and field at least two of them in the first half of every match has “affected” them, but Shigetomi is confident that the team has prepared well enough.
“Last season we didn’t lose any matches but this season we have a brand new team with only four members from last season still with us,” he said. “It will be a more difficult challenge for us this season and we’ll take it one game at a time.”
New Home signing Adam Swandi admitted that he has mixed feelings about facing his former club, with whom he won the Young Player of the Year award last season.
“It’s a very difficult position for me as I was with coach Keiji (Albirex assistant last year) and he guided me through the season, he really helped made me a better player,” the forward said.
“I’d like to thank them for the opportunity but ultimately I have to fight for the crest on my chest.”
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