Stipe Plazibat 'to leave Home United on a high' - coach Aidil Sharin
Home United coach Aidil Sharin has challenged Stipe Plazibat to go out on a high, with Thailand giants Bangkok Glass expected to sign the talented striker for the 2018 season.
The Croatian has netted an incredible 33 goals in all competitions for Home United in 2017. With 21 league goals, he also leads the Golden Boot race from Tsubasa Sano, who has scored 18 times for leaders Albirex Niigata (S).
Plazibat grabbed the second goal as Home United defeated his former club Hougang United 2-0 on Sunday night to keep alive their faint title hopes.
Aidil hopes that the ex-Hajduk Split junior continues to produce for the club, who are effectively duelling with Tampines Rovers for a runners-up finish.
"I spoke personally to Stipe that 'if you want to leave, make sure you leave on a high', just like what [Danish striker] Ken Ilso did last year [before he went to Malaysia's Kedah]," he said.
"It's difficult for us to win the league, but now his target is to beat Sano for the top scorer award."
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After they fell short in the domestic cups, as well as the regional AFC Cup, the 2017 season might be remembered as one when Home United flattered to deceive. But Aidil is happy that his team have won praise for their free-flowing style, attracting the attention of foreign clubs.
"I did not set the target to be champions, I said to take one game at a time. But I'm happy with the progress of the team since I took over," Aidil said.
Home United are four points behind second-placed Tampines Rovers, who defeated Geylang International 3-2 on Sunday night. However, the Protectors have two games in hand on Tampines, and top-placed Albirex Niigata (S), who are 10 points above them.
As for Plazibat, he is expected to sign a contract next week with Bangkok Glass, who are captained by ex-Australia international Matt Smith. They are fifth in the 18-team T1 league.
Before joining Home United for the 2017 season, he scored 14 goals in 26 matches for Hougang last year.
Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT