Home United’s 2000 Singapore Cup winners: Where Are They Now?

Home United are the record six-time champions of the Singapore Cup and it all started off in 2000 with a 1-0 triumph over SAFFC (now Warriors FC) at the old National Stadium. Ahead of this week’s semi-finals, FFT traces the whereabouts of that legendary Protectors squad…

Defeating Marine Castle United (now Hougang United) 2-0 to reach the two-legged quarter-finals, Home progressed past Gombak United 6-2 on aggregate – drawing 2-2 away, before winning 4-0 at Bishan.

The Protectors then beat Woodlands Wellington 6-4 on aggregate before completing the job with a narrow 1-0 win over the Warriors in the grand final in front of a 45,000-strong crowd.

The no-nonsense defender became the longest-serving skipper in the history of the S.League

So, where are the starting XI and the coach from that triumphant side now?

Zulkifli Zainolabidin

Once describing himself as a “crazy keeper” who saved difficult shots but let in easy ones, the then 20-year-old put up a stunning display between the sticks to deny Mirko Grabovac and company.

That earned him the man of the match award and a S$1,000 prize in the process.

Money, interestingly, was never Zulkifli’s main motivation as he earned worldwide attention while playing for Paya Lebar Punggol in 2005 for turning down his former coach Chow Kwai Lam’s request to fix a game.

This year's semi-finals. Can Home claim another title?

Chow dangled a sum between S$200 to S$300 for Zulkifli to let in two or three goals in a game that season, but the custodian did not take the bait.

Zulkifli then played for Tampines Rovers and Balestier Khalsa before retiring from professional football.

These days, the 37-year-old is a prison officer with the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and plays for their representative football team called PRSR in the ESPZEN social league. 

S Subramani

Following his first success in the competition with Tanjong Pagar United in 1998, Subramani would lift the trophy again two years later as captain of Home.

The no-nonsense defender became the longest-serving skipper in the history of the S.League, leading the Protectors to two league titles and four Singapore Cups in total before hanging up his boots in 2009.

Subramani was a success at international level as well, featuring in a total of five AFF Championship campaigns for Singapore – including the 1998, 2004 and 2007 triumphs – and collecting 115 caps.

Subramani (right) lifting another Singapore Cup in 2003. Photo: Steve Darby

The legend then moved into coaching and had spells as assistant coach of Home and the national under-23 side.

The 45-year-old is now a physical education (PE) lecturer at ITE College Central.

Aide Iskandar

The central figure of a three-man defence in the final, the sturdy centre-back played a prominent role in Home’s success in the early 2000s alongside Subramani, before leaving for Johor FA (now Johor Darul Ta’zim II) in 2006.

He is also fondly remembered as the captain who led Singapore to successive Suzuki Cup victories in 2004 and 2007.

Aide during his time as Singapore under-23 coach. Photo: FAS

His final S.League season came in 2009 where he succeeded Jorge Steinebrunner in the Sengkang Punggol hot seat midway through his stint as a player-assistant coach.

He led the Cheetahs to a seventh-place finish out of 12 teams in 2011 when they were rebranded as Hougang United, before assisting Raddy Avramovic in the 2012 Suzuki Cup-winning campaign.

He then had mixed fortunes with the Singapore under-23s, leading them to a bronze medal in the 2013 SEA Games, before a group-stage exit two years later led to him stepping down.

The 45-year-old then joined Geylang International as a technical advisor in 2016, before teaming up with local rapper Sheikh Haikel to form a sports marketing agency called Sports Star Network in May.

R Sasikumar

Famed for his ‘Blade of God’ winning goal for Singapore in the 1998 Tiger Cup final, Sasikumar featured in Home’s two Singapore Cup-winning teams (2000 and 2001) before moving to Jurong FC.

The towering Indian defender captained the Cobras to the 2002 Singapore Cup final before retiring the following year. He then worked hard to establish himself in the sports marketing industry and set up his own firm Red Card Group in 2005.

Photo: Twitter.com

Red Card has grown steadily since then with various offices around the region. Sasi also played a role in the privatisation of the Malaysia Super League in 2015 and was instrumental in setting up the Philippines Football League – that country’s first-ever pro league – this year.

He won the Entrepreneurial Footballer Award at the inaugural Pentagon Awards in 2016 for his achievements.

[NEXT: Two players still linked well after hanging up the boots]