Home and Hougang in transfer flurry ahead of new S. League season
The 21st season of the S.League is shaping up to be one the most intriguing ones in recent years.
As five-time league champions Tampines Rovers are set to take ex-Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant on trial, their rivals Home United and Hougang United have stepped up their recruitment drives ahead of the new season.
The Protectors have been especially busy adding to their forward line, having snared Irfan Fandi, the eldest progeny of Singapore's favourite footballing son Fandi Ahmad, and ex-LionsXII hotshot Khairul Nizam.
Irfan, whom the Protectors believe will add power and pace to their forward line, spent last season with the Courts Young Lions and opted to stay in Singapore rather than sign a deal with Chilean side Universidad Catolica so that he could complete his national service.
He was also one of the few positives during Singapore's disappointing South-east Asia Games football campaign in June.
Despite yet another season hampered by injury problems, Nizam, who officially put pen to paper and signed for Home after agreeing a deal in December, stole the headlines in August when he scored a stunning scissors-kick goal for the LionsXII to salvage a 1-1 draw with Selangor in the Malaysian Super League.
The acrobatic wonder strike was featured on websites such as The Guardian and Bleacher Report.
While Home welcomed their two new signings to the Bishan Stadium, last year's wooden spoonists Hougang were not content to let their rivals have all the transfer action to themselves as they announced four new additions from the Courts Young Lions to their ranks.
Central midfield powerhouse M. Anumanthan was a nominee for the inaugural TNP Dollah Kassim Award and impressed as the Young Lions overcame their SEA Games disappointment to finish the season above his new club.
Attacking midfielder Nur Ridho Jafri was also a Dollah Kassim Award nominee in 2012 while midfielder Afiq Noor and fullback Ali Hudzaifi round up the remainder of the Cheetahs' new signings.