News • February 1, 2016

Ilso: Protectors’ Chemistry Will Be Key To Success


Written by: Shawn Lim

As the only club in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League to buck the trend by retaining its core players from last season, Home United are determined to prove that they do things differently from their rivals.

The Protectors handed out new contracts to Ken Ilso, Abdil Qaiyyim, Azhar Sairudin, Hyrulnizam Jumaat, Sufianto Salleh, Redzwan Atan, Shahrin Saberin, R Aaravin, Song Uiyong, Ang Zhi Wei, most of whom played a crucial role in helping Home reached the 2015 RHB Singapore Cup final.

Home’s desire not to conform to the norm is one of the reasons why last season’s club top scorer Ilso decided to pen a new contract and extend his stay in Singapore, a place the Dane calls his “second home”.

Ilso also strongly feels that the club’s decision to keep the first-team squad intact will be the Protectors’ advantage this season, as they look to challenge for honours again.

“I like Home a lot. I like the way that we want to do things differently and I have a huge respect for those people who are willing to take risks, in order to achieve something bigger,” Ilso told the official S.League website.

“We had a very positive way of progress during the whole last year, and to leave after only one season, would be like to put the seeds in the ground, but not be there when the flowers bloom.

“At the same time I like Singapore so much, that I almost feel like it is my second home already. When I was on vacation in Denmark for exams, I was missing Singapore, the people and to train with the team everyday.

“A lot of the players already know each other, so we have a lot of automatism in the way of playing, running patterns and so on. That can be very valuable this season.”

While some foreign players require time to settle down in a new country, Ilso took to Singapore football like a fish takes to water last year and made his debut in style, scoring against Geylang International with a piledriver from 20-yards out.

The striker subsequently went on to score for three consecutive matches before an injury sidelined him for six games as the Protectors struggled to pick up crucial points without their key man.

Home then went on a 10-game unbeaten once Ilso recovered to finish sixth in the league, as the 29-year-old capped off his debut season with 11 goals in 19 appearances.

The Dane admits he feels personally responsible for Home’s loss in form after his injury, but is pleased that the team learnt a great deal about themselves during the difficult period.

“My first year was good and complicated. Good, because we found a rhythm within the team middle way of the season which also brought us to the cup final,” explained the former Fortuna Düsseldorf player.

“Complicated, because I was out for too many matches due to an injury, and had difficulties in being a part of the first tough period for the team.

“But we learnt important lessons as a team, like how important it is to stay to our individual tasks, take the risks in order to win the games.

“Make that risky pass, and at the same time stay focussed and clinical in the back. The balance between those has been our lesson, which I hope we can do better this season.”

The club has also continued its policy to concentrate on youth under coach Philippe Aw by signing exciting young players like Faris Ramli, Khairul Nizam, Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi.

Ilso is excited to play alongside the new signings as he feels they will play an important role when Home comes up against opponents who intend to keep a tight leash on him.

“I think all teams already knew my history before I came, but I feel they they be even more alert this year,” explained the 1.83m tall player.