Home United skipper Hassan Sunny says the Protectors will give it their all in AFC Cup semi-final and bring joy to Singapore football, which has been hampered by last month's police raids on the Football Association of Singapore headquarters over alleged misuse of funds by local clubs.
Home became the only representative of Singapore football in the zonal semi-final stage of AFC Cup after Tampines Rovers bowed out of the tournament, failing to make it past the group stages. Aidil Sharin's men though topped Group G after dominating Vietnam's Thang Quang Ninh and Myanmar's Yadanarbon FC.
The Protectors, who are bolstered by in-form Croatian striker Stipe Plazibat, the scorer of 18 goals from 12 games this season, will take on Philippines' Global FC, who finished above 2015 winners Johor Darul Ta'zim in Group F.
"I had hoped that Tampines would... go through (together) with us, that would give a positive side (to the state of) Singapore football, you know, (with) what has happened in the past few weeks. But that is football. We are the only team in the competition (now) and we hope that we can fly the Singapore flag high and make Singapore proud of us," Hassan said, as quoted by Today.
'Home wary of Global threat'
Coach Sharin says the semi-final against Global will be a challenge for them, given that the first-leg in Manila on 16 May will be played four days after their high-profile league encounter against Tampines.
Notably, Global, after failing to reach the group stages of Asean Champions League, went on to win five of their six group games including a 3-2 win over JDT. Having not lost a home game in the tournament, the Filipino side will be favourites to emerge successful against Home in Manila.
"We have to challenge ourselves. This is a semi-final, I expect everyone to be eager and give everything. I saw them play at home and they are very strong, very physical. But as long as everybody is fit, I have faith in my players," Sharin said.
"If we can get a good result (there), I don't see why we can't beat them at home. It's going to be another tough game (in the second leg) because that will be during the fasting month, but that is not an excuse."