Youthful Home Utd seek S'pore Cup win

In his first season this year as head coach of Home United, Philippe Aw boldly blooded youth into the first team, with almost half the 21-strong squad aged 25 and below.

But the move came with a steep learning curve and the Protectors finished sixth in the recently concluded 10-team S-League.

Last year, they were fourth.

But Home found the going smoother in the RHB Singapore Cup, and have a shot at silverware against Albirex Niigata in the final at Jalan Besar Stadium tonight.

Aw hopes that with success to back up his beliefs, Home can set an example for other clubs to follow.

"If we win tomorrow, we hope that other clubs will follow suit to give youth a chance as well," said Aw, who previously coached the club's Prime League team.

History will be on Home's side, who are the most successful Singapore Cup side with six titles. They also made it to the past three finals.

However, they face Japanese outfit Albirex, who disposed of reigning champions Balestier Khalsa 5-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.

The White Swans are also undefeated against Home this season, with two victories and two draws in S-League and The New Paper League Cup encounters.

Still, Albirex, who finished third in the league, are not underestimating their rivals.

"Home were a tough opponent throughout the season for us," said head coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama, who is seeking to add a second piece of silverware to the League Cup won in July. "We had a good experience in the League Cup final and we aim to use that experience."

Albirex, losing finalists in 2011, have never won the Singapore Cup.

But Aw is under no illusions that it will be a tough battle. He added: "It will be a good chance to display our own brand of football and end the season with a win. As the last local team in this competition, we are very motivated to win."

The match for third place, Philippine side Global FC versus Brunei DPMM, will kick off at 5pm.


ALBIREX NIIGATA V HOME UNITED

MediaCorp okto & Singtel TV Ch111, 7.45pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2015, with the headline 'Youthful Home Utd seek S'pore Cup win'. Print Edition | Subscribe