|By Kenneth Tan
Hougang United officially unveiled their 20-man squad list for the 2013 S.League season at Hougang Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Thirteen players have been retained from the 2012 cohort, including long-serving foreign striker Mamadou Diallo. The Guinean is the only foreigner retained, as the contracts of Ante Barac and Stanislav Vidakovic were not renewed following the departure of previous manager Nenad Bacina.
Canadian wing-wizard Jordan Webb has defected to arch-rivals Home United after four successful seasons with the club.
However, Cheetahs fans can look forward to a fresh influx of foreigners and the return of a couple of 'old boys'.
New coach Alex Weaver has brought in two fellow Englishmen in Thomas Beattie and Liam Shotton, who both come with interesting CVs.
The former spent 10 years in Hull City before moving to play in America and Canada, and was named the Canadian Soccer League's Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile, the latter was a goal machine in the lower leagues of England and is also the elder brother of Stoke City defender Ryan, who plys his trade in the Barclays Premier League.
Canadian forward Jerome Baker and ex-Sporting Afrique forward Robert Eziakor round off the list of foreigners.
On the locals' front, Fairoz Hasan and Shahir Hamzah will make their returns to the club where they started their career, while the arrival of former Home United fullback Jeremy Chiang will also boost Weaver's defensive options.
Meanwhile, Weaver, who currently holds a UEFA 'A' coaching license and spent two years in Stoke City as an Academy coach, relishes the challenges ahead and has set a target of bettering Hougang United's eighth place finish in the league last year.
“I needed a new challenge, a place where I can influence with my ideas and philosophy, I want to create a culture based on excellence," he proclaimed.
"I have not talked to my players regarding a targeted finish, I just want to strive for excellence and improve in any game. That said, definitely we want to finish higher than eighth."
Hougang United 2013 S.League Squad List
|5||DF||Lau Meng Meng (C)|