'Crazy horse' Juma'at Jantan primed for 14th S.League season at Home
Having begun his career with a club that has been defunct for more than a decade, Home United right-back Juma'at Jantan is lacing up his boots for a 14th season in the Great Eastern Yeo's S.League.
The 31-year-old defender, affectionately known as the 'crazy horse' for his tireless runs down the flank, started his career with Sembawang Rangers in 2003 when Goh Chok Tong was Singapore's Prime Minister and Leeds United were still an English Premier League club.
The former LionsXII utility is looking forward to playing a key role as Home United captain with head coach Philippe Aw bringing more youngsters into the fold this season to embrace his quick passing game. The Fandi brothers, Ikhsan and Irfan, will line up this year alongside the likes of Sufianto Salleh, Luqman Ismail and Mahathir Azeman.
"Age is not an issue for them," Juma'at told ESPN FC. "These young boys have a lot of enthusiasm and they will gain experience as the season goes along. Their youthful energy will actually help them adapt to coach Philippe's style of football, which involves high pressing and a lot of running."
Last season, Juma'at captained the Protectors to a mid-table finish in the league and has challenged himself to do better in 2016.
"It is not easy to play this type of football at my age but the biggest advantage I have is my experience," he said. "I can control the way I play during the 90 minutes. When to push myself, how to position and when to go on the overlap. So it is no problem so far."
His 13 seasons in the S.League have seen him garner two Singapore Cup winner's medal in 2011 and 2013 but the veteran defender has never won the S.League title. With the squad that Home have assembled this year, 2016 could finally see Juma'at claim his first league winner's medal.
"What is important is to have strength in every position," he said. "We have good players, [Sirina] Camara in defence, Faris [Ramli] and Zulfahmi [Arifin] in midfield and in attack we have Ken Ilso, with his experience from the German Bundesliga.
"I am sure Irfan and the rest of the young ones will be able to pick up tips and learn from him. He will help them grow, and that will in turn help the team do well."
Juma'at has made it clear that he wants to play for as long as possible at Home, to help the next generation of footballers to reach their potential.
He added: "I don't want to set a time or date to stop. If I can stay fit and be injury-free, then I hope to play as long as possible. After that, I hope to be involved in coaching the kids at the Home Youth Football Academy.
"As we all know, at Home, they always have plans and lots of career opportunities for us veteran footballers, and hopefully, I can continue my stay with the club and contribute in other aspects of the game."
Home United kick off their 2016 league season with the uniformed derby against Warriors FC at the Bishan Stadium on Feb. 14, just nine days before Juma'at celebrates his 32nd birthday.