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Guiding from the heart: Home United head coach Aidil Sharin

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Sitting on his couch with a football match playing on the television screen, Aidil Sharin might seem like a typical sports fan in Singapore.

However, unlike the others, the Home United head coach was actually doing research on his team’s potential opponents for the upcoming AFC Cup group stage, set to take place early next year.

He has spent the past few weeks recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery, which he delayed for over a month in order to see his team through the recent S-league season.

Having to endure such pain would be unthinkable to some, but for the 40-year-old, being there for his players was not just an official duty - it was also a personal commitment.

Coach AidilPhoto: SportSG

“Coaching is in my blood”

A former player for the team, Aidil has been a part of Home United since the club’s early years, joining in 1996. However, it was the Community Development Council (CDC) that gave him his first opportunity to coach, where he guided underprivileged children in football on weekends.

He then progressed to coaching the Home United youth team, and eventually made his way into the position of assistant coach to the first team in 2012.

“[Coaching is] in my blood. My brother was also a coach, and a footballer as well. My family learnt everything from football. I love to learn when coaching. For me, every day I am still learning,” Aidil said.

Having been the head coach of the club for almost two years now, Aidil shared that his journey to the top had not been easy. He revealed: “We want the best players to be on the field, and we also want best results whenever we play. The stress is always there.”

“For me, I’m very straight with the team. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a national player or not, whoever performs in training deserves to play,” he said, expecting all of his players to always give their best during training sessions.

A coach on the pitch, a father figure in life

The position of head coach naturally requires Aidil to be a rational decision-maker, but outside the field, he tries his best to be an approachable friend to the squad. He often invites his players’ family members to team bonding activities, in a bid to make sure everyone feels like a part of a big Home United family.

“A lot of coaches always say that I’m a player manager, [because] they know I’m very close with my players,” he said.

He has also gotten the club to pay for school supplies for the players’ children, as well as sponsor educational courses for players keen on furthering their qualifications outside of official training hours.

“These [may seem like] small things, but I believe they are important,” he said. “Once you gain the trust of the team and the players, I believe they will give [their all] because they know you understand them. Especially those senior players, because they have gone through so many coaches, they know what is good and what is bad!” Aidil pointed out.

With Home United becoming the first Singaporean club to make it to the AFC Cup ASEAN Zone Finals this August and finishing third in the S-league last month, it is clear that Aidil is on the right track when it comes to bringing the best out of his players.

Coach AidilPhoto: SportSG

“[The AFC results were] a record for Singapore and the club. I’m also very proud of the players. I think they were very disciplined, very committed, and you could see the team spirit that propelled them to the finals,” he shared.

Buoyed by recent results, the head coach has plenty of hope for the future of Singapore’s football scene, and he believed that coaches would have a huge role to play in its progress.

“Football is their [the players] passion, and they have to enjoy playing football. Even though it’s a stressful game to get results, but the most important thing for coaches is to motivate them and give encouragement, even when they’ve lost or are not doing well. We always have to lift them up as much as we can,” Aidil noted.

With an experienced and committed coach like Aidil, players and other up-and-coming coaches in the local football scene certainly do not have to look far for an inspiring figure to emulate.