Shahril returns Home with a mission
Bemedalled footballer targets missing piece in his silverware collection - the S.League winner's medal
Veteran local footballer Shahril Ishak has unfinished business as he enters the new year.
The 33-year-old has won the Asean football championship (thrice), the Malaysian Super League (once) and also individual accolades such as the 2010 S.League Player of the Year and the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup Most Valuable Player awards.
But one piece of metal that has eluded him - after 15 years in professional football - is that of the S.League winner's medal.
And Shahril is bent on adding that to his trophy cabinet, after signing a one-year contract with Home United.
The Singapore international, who had played for Home from 2007-2010, told The New Paper: "It was an easy choice to be part of Home United. I feel honoured and I'm glad to be part of the club again.
"I'm definitely looking forward to starting the season with them."
Shahril had come close to tasting S.League glory with Home in 2010. However, an offer from Indonesia's Persib Bandung proved too irresistible and he left to join Persib with three S.League games to play.
French side Etoile FC eventually pipped Home to the title that season. Hence, Shahril's home-coming has added significance.
He said: "Of course, winning the S.League title is my top priority. I haven't won the S.League or Singapore Cup yet.
"So it's definitely a goal for me to achieve before I retire."
Winning the S.League title is my top priority. I haven’t won the S.League or Singapore Cup yet.Shahril Ishak, who has signed for Home United this season
Home coach Aidil Sharin believes Shahril will be an apt replacement for their top scorer Stipe Plazibat, who has joined Thai side Bangkok Glass.
JOINT-TOP LOCAL SCORER
Shahril was the S.League's joint-top local scorer with 11 goals while with Warriors FC last season.
Said Aidil: "Everyone knows that Shahril is a valuable player. He may be 33, but he was the (joint) top local scorer in the league.
"We're very happy to have him with us, because we definitely need experienced players like him to replace players like Hariss (Harun) and Stipe."
The pressure will be on Shahril to fill the boots of Plazibat, who was Home's scoring machine with 37 goals in all competitions last season.
While their goal hauls are incomparable, Aidil feels that a player's peak is unpredictable.
Drawing confidence from Plazibat's improvement while with them, he said: "Shahril and Stipe are two different players, so we can't compare.
"Stipe had a good season with us, but before joining us, he wasn't scoring that many goals. When these strikers are on form, they will score non-stop.
"So for Shahril, hopefully he can have a better season with us as well."
Besides local honours, Shahril hopes to help Home achieve glory on the continent as well.
He said: "I had a good season last year, and I'd love to score more goals and do better this season.
"With the AFC group stages coming up in February and then the S.League, it'll be a big challenge ahead of me but we are very positive about our targets."