Based on the press release by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Friday (14 Feb), Home United Football Club, once known as Lion City FC, is set to make its debut in the next Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, backed by the new owner of Sea, the Singaporean leading internet platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
With the objective of igniting a new era of development for Singapore football and achieving SPL success, the club introduced its new name, squad and kit.
Sea is the parent company of SeaMoney, Shopee and Garena and the country’s biggest consumer internet company, will assume 100 per cent club ownership. The Chairman of Lion City Sailors FC is Forrest Li, who is the founder, Chairman and Group CEO of Sea.
“Sea is proud to be a Singaporean company, and we are proud to play our part in elevating Singapore football to the next level. By uniting with a club with a rich heritage, exceptional fans, and a great organisation, we intend for Lion City Sailors to set a new benchmark for footballing excellence in Singapore and the region. As a passionate fan myself, I know that Singapore has a huge community of people who love football, and our hope is that Lion City Sailors will strengthen that passion and ignite a new era for the development of the game locally. We look forward to supporting the development of Lion City Sailors and guiding this great club into a new period of success,” Mr Li remarked.
Lion City Sailors is a symbol of Sea renewing its long-standing commitment to the development of football in Singapore, as also exemplified by the sponsorship by Garena of the Young Lions in 2016. Since 2017, Mr Li has also been a member of the Football Association of Singapore Council.
“We are proud of all that the club has achieved over the years, and proud to pass the baton over to Sea, a company that shares our passion for football, commitment to community, and focus on achieving success. Thanks to the hard work of the club’s management committee over the years, the club is in a strong position both on and off the field, and ready for the next phase of success with Sea. All of us are excited to see the club reach even greater heights in the years to come,” the outgoing Chairman of Home United, Winston Wong.
The Lion City Sailors have their sights on a place in the AFC Champions Leagues and aiming for domestic silverware. Aurelio Vidmar, the former Socceroos captain will be the coach leading the Lion City Sailors. Mr Vidmar join as the coach after a tremendous success in Australia when he led Adelaide United to the 2008 AFC Champions League final, making his team the first Australian team to earn this distinction.
Also, the Lion City FC has also been bolstered by a few key off-season signings bringing in players such as Lions stalwarts Shahdan Sulaiman, Hassan Sunny, Australian forward, Andy Pengelly as well as Japanese defender Kaishu Yamazaki.
“The players and staff have worked really hard over the pre-season to lay the foundations for success this season. This is a hugely exciting moment for the club and we will work hard to give our fans a lot to cheer about this season,” Head Coah Aurelio Vidmar remarked regarding the club’s ambitions for future season.
SPL will gain fresh momentum with the launch of Lion City Sailors as the FAS also welcomes more corporate involvement that can revitalise the league. This pilot project is seen by FAS as the chance to build a sustainable framework for Singaporean football landscape by inspiring other corporate partners to involve themselves.
“The FAS is committed to enhancing the professionalism of the SPL in order to establish it as a quality product. This pilot project is a significant milestone for the league as it enters its 25th season and marks a historical chapter that could potentially shape the future of the professional football landscape in Singapore. Sea has a proven track record of building and managing successful businesses, and the FAS has complete confidence in their ability to steer the club to new heights,” Lim Kia Tong, the President of FAS stated about Sea’s effort which will empower the league.
The Lion City Sailors’ has always made youth development an integral part of its focus in the quest to strengthen the ranks of its senior setup and the national team, alongside grooming future generation of talents.
There are also ongoing plans to bolster the structure of the current youth academy. “We aim to provide our youths the best possible platform to pursue their passion for football and develop their talents,” Mr Li remarked.
On Saturday (29 Feb), the new SPL season will commence with the match between Lion City Sailors and the defending champions Brunei DPMM at Bishan Stadium, Singapore.