News • February 9, 2016
S.League 2016 Team Preview: Home United
Written by: Alex Weaver
With Ken Ilso, a team that is familiar with each other and a few good signings in the off-season, the Protectors supporters may just have a few reasons to be optimistic about their team’s chances of success in the upcoming 2016 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season.
Much has been made of the fact that head coach Philippe Aw has managed to retain the core of the squad that displayed so much promise last season despite only finishing in sixth place in the league.
A RHB Singapore Cup final appearance is perhaps a sign of things to come for a club that has chosen to buck the trend of most S.League clubs who usually overhaul their playing and technical staff after each season.
A team that spends time practicing and playing together has a better chance of developing its team’s ‘communication’ – the verbal and non-verbal interaction between its players, which is developed further by the head coach’s system and style of play.
Supplementing an existing group of established players that understand each other well with players such as Zulfahmi Arifin, Faris Ramli, Mahathir Azeman and Khairul Nizam could possibly give the Bishan-based club a slight advantage at the start of the season.
In contrast, clubs which have made a large number of key new signings may take a little longer to see the best of their team, at which time they may well already be looking up at Home in the league standings.
Coach Profile – Philippe Aw
The Protectors clearly value Aw’s experience within the club’s youth system.
He is familiar with the majority of the young stars he is trying to integrate into the first team, having coached most of them through their early years at the club and they are equally familiar with him.
After admitting that he found working with some of the more senior local players difficult in the early stages of last season, Aw has managed to trim the squad and mould it into something which most likely represents a group that is willing to work with his methods.
Having retained a player with the credentials of Ilso is testament to the young up-and-coming Singaporean coach.
The 39-year-old has also proved that he is astute enough to address weaknesses and adapt to make his side better.
How he and his players adjusted their system and style of play following setbacks such as the heavy 4-1 defeat at home by Warriors FC early on in last year’s campaign has clearly made a positive impression on those key players within his squad.
It is quite clear that Aw places a considerable emphasis on attacking play considering the current balance of his stronger players in the side and also the young hopefuls he has signed such as the Fandi brothers, Irfan and Ikhsan.
However, it is equally uncertain as to whether Abdil Qaiyyim and the young R. Aaravin will become Home United’s version of Phil Jagielka and John Stones.
They will have to perform at their best on a very regular basis if they are to prevent the efforts of Aw’s attacking stars going to waste.
Star Player – Ken Ilsø
If Aw and Home’s fitness coach Dirk Schauenberg can ensure that training loads and recovery strategies are in place, then the league should get to see what the Danish striker can do over the course of a full season.
The former Danish U-21 striker will certainly be one of the favorites to top the goalscoring charts in 2016, and if this happens then he should also be part of a side that challenges for the title.
Ilsø’s game insight is exceptional, due mainly to his experience in high-level leagues such as the Eredivisie, Bundesliga, the Danish and Chinese Superleagues.
There were occasions last season where he would be frustrated by the inability of his teammates to understand and read this insight.
With the core group of the Protectors players still together and with a season of training and playing together already under their belt, this team communication should be at a higher level and Ilsø should be able to get more from his teammates during this campaign.
Home United 2016 S.League squad
Sim Teck Yi