For the first time since their inception in the S.League in 2004, Japanese invitees Albirex Niigata (S) will have Singaporean players on their roster, having signed playmaker Adam Swandi and goalkeeper Shahul Rayyan.
The White Swans have swept all four domestic trophies, including the 2016 and 2017 S.League titles in the past two seasons. They exercised the option to sign two local players under the new regulations set out by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) for the 2018 S.League season.
After the annus horribilis that was 2017, the only way is up for Singapore football.
So with the New Year upon us, here are five hopeful wishes for the local game in 2018.
1. Build a star overseas
Fandi Ahmad swung his left boot, the ball flashed past Walter Zenga and a superstar was born. The Singaporean's goal against Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup for Groningen in 1983 elevated the sport's status. There's no national service quite like it. A foreign trailblazer in a superior league works wonders...
Singapore midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman believes he can take his game to a new level by joining Melaka United in the Malaysia Super League (MSL).
Shahdan follows compatriots Hariss Harun (Johor Darul Ta'zim), Safuwan Baharudin (Pahang FA) and Madhu Mohana (Negeri Sembilan) into the MSL for the 2018 season after sealing a season-long loan deal from S.League giant Tampines Rovers.
The move came as a surprise to many as the Hang Tuah side had trialed Singaporean pair Hafiz Sujad and Faris Ramli over...