StarHub League Cup tonight:
Home United vs Courts Young Lions (Bishan Stadium)
SAFFC vs Tanjong Pagar United (Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
Both games kick off at 830pm
From a tournament that is rated to be the least on their priorities, the StarHub League Cup may well be of utmost importance as the competition that will stretch over two weeks begin with two big name teams in action. Despite investing heavily on new recruits prior to the 2012 season, uniform group duo Home United and SAFFC have not been at all impressive as the Great Eastern Yeo’s S-League season comes to a break, to make way for the StarHub League Cup.
The League Cup had been widely used as a “development platform” by coaches across the island, but having suffered poor form and results over the last half a year, this may well be a stepping stone for the two giants to maintain their reputation by clinching at least one title lest they have to end the season empty handed.
Home United was in the headlines over the last two days as mainstream media reported that there have been troubles at the club. Already dumped out of the RHB Singapore Cup by SAFFC, the Protectors’ best chance of clinching any silverware in 2012 depends heavily on their showing in this competition. The Bishan based side is five points away from leaders Albirex Niigata (S) with seven rounds of matches left to play in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S-League.
Should second and third placed teams Tampines Rovers and Brunei DPMM collect maximum points from their game in hand, it will be increasingly difficult for the Protectors to over take the top three as both teams do not drop too many points during the closing stages of the league season.
Home United will rely on top marksman Frederic Mendy and hope that the former Etoile FC man can carry on his hot streak. Mendy has 19 goals to his name in all competitions so far this year.
The Protectors host Courts Young Lions who are in brilliant form after claiming scalps over Harimau Muda and SAFFC in their last two league fixtures.
As for SAFFC, they are on course for a domestic cup double. Richard Bok’s boys will be motivated from their progress into the semi-finals of the RHB Singapore Cup at the expense of traditional rivals Home United.
Their title hope is all but over as they are currently 12 points behind the league leaders on seventh position. For the all time S-League record holders in terms of number of titles won plus games won (more than 300 wins since 1996), they are expected to end the season with at least one major silverware from domestic competitions.
Two barren seasons (2010 and 2011) with the amount of quality in the squad is unacceptable, and the boys at Choa Chu Kang know exactly what is expected of them as they begin the quest for some glory. The Warriors open their campaign as they host Tanjong Pagar United at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
The brilliance of Tatsuro Inui can propel SAFFC to glory but the goal scoring burden will still lie heavily on Mislav Karoglan and Fazrul Nawaz. The duo is accountable for 18 league and cup goals so far in 2012.
*Both Home United (semi final) and SAFFC (quarter-final) were knocked out of the competition by giant killing Hougang United in 2011. Hougang United went on to the Finals but fell to Albirex Niigata (S) 5-4 on penalty kicks following a goalless draw after 120 minutes of play.