Hougang United swept two of the three top accolades at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Awards Night 2021 earlier this evening at a ceremony that marked the end of the 26th domestic professional football season.
Japanese star Tomoyuki Doi took the AIA Player of the Year gong while Lion City Sailors defender Nur Adam Abdullah was named the AIA Young Player of the Year, with the Polar Mineral Water Coach of the Year award going to Clement Teo as the trio were recognised for their efforts in the 2021 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL). Lion City Sailors attacker Gabriel Quak scored the SELECT Goal of the Year with his sizzling first-time effort against Balestier Khalsa in April. Doi also finished as the SPL Top Scorer, while Albirex Niigata (S) goalkeeper Takahiro Koga created a slice of history by receiving the first ever SPL Golden Glove prize in the awards’ history after registering a league-high tally of eight clean sheets.
This year’s event took place at Aux Media and saw outstanding individuals and officials from the SPL receiving awards to recognise their performances through the season, which successfully concluded two days ago in the face of challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic for a second consecutive year.
Doi, 24, enjoyed a stellar maiden season at Hougang United as he scored 19 times and made six assists in 21 matches. The attacker, who was also on the final shortlist for the award last year during his first season in the SPL with previous club Albirex Niigata, is the 24th different Player of the Year and the fifth Japanese recipient. Flushed with delight, Doi said: “I feel very happy to be Player of the Year and Top Scorer. My team-mates and coaches helped me a lot, it is not just about me and I have to say thank you to them. I prepared a lot (for this season) to become a more typical striker, a number nine and fortunately I could score for the team. In my opinion, I did not have the quality to become Player of the Year last year but I decided to challenge (again) this season and the experience made me stronger.”
Meanwhile, Teo became the first Singaporean in 12 years – since Richard Bok of Singapore Armed Forces FC in 2009 – to be named Coach of the Year. The 54-year-old, who led Hougang United to third place, replicating the club’s highest league finish in history from 2019, is the 20th different recipient and the fifth Singaporean to win it. Teo, who was nominated for the first time in 2019, said: “It is truly an honour and I never expected this. I could not have done it alone. I have a great technical room and it has been a roller-coaster season for us. This is dedicated to my mentor and good friend Salim Moin because years ago when we were together at Woodlands Wellington, we spoke about this award and now, it has happened.”
The AIA SPL Team of the Year recognised the season’s best players in a 4-3-3 formation and comprised goalkeeper Takahiro Koga (Albirex Niigata), defenders Kazuki Hashioka, Shuya Yamashita (both Albirex Niigata), Jorge Fellipe and Nur Adam Abdullah (both Lion City Sailors), midfielders Ryoya Taniguchi (Albirex Niigata), Shahdan Sulaiman (Lion City Sailors) and Kaishu Yamazaki (Hougang United), and forwards Tomoyuki Doi (Hougang United), Stipe Plazibat (Lion City Sailors) and Šime Žužul (Balestier Khalsa). It is the third straight year that Yamazaki features in this category, while Plazibat and Hashioka have been included for a second consecutive season. Shahdan returns after first featuring in 2019.
The final nominees and eventual winners for the AIA Player of the Year, AIA Young Player of the Year, Polar Mineral Water Coach of the Year, SELECT Goal of the Year and AIA SPL Team of the Year were selected by a judging panel comprising the current Head Coaches, General Managers and Team Captain from the eight SPL clubs participating in the 2021 season as well as FAS Technical Director Joseph Palatsides, FAS Head of Elite Youth Fandi Ahmad and five representatives from separate media outlets.
The club’s sports trainer, Thomas Pang has also been rewarded the FAS Recognition Award during the event. Thomas has contributed to local football for over 30 years, and have been with the Cheetahs for 6 seasons.
Congratulations to all award winners!
Source and Photos: Singapore Premier League