The wait is over! The first ever all-inclusive football awards in Singapore gets underway today and the names in the running for all five categories have been revealed.
Malaysian Super League winners, Shahril Ishak and Safuwan Baharudin will have to contend with S.League winners Khairul Amri and Aleksandar Duric in the Player of the Year category. Balestier Khalsa's League Cup winner Qiu Li who has seen a resurgence in form and earned himself a recall to the national side is also in the running along with Singapore's current first choice custodian, Hassan Sunny of Warriors FC.
The Young Player of the Year, which is awarded to Singaporean players under the age of 21, has three LionsXII team-mates along with 17-year-old Adam Swandi in contention for the award. Shahfiq Ghani whose form for LionsXII has earned him a place in Bernd Stange's senior side, and Faris Ramli are two of the Malaysia Super League winners in the category. Shakir Hamzah who saw his good form as a converted left-back abruptly ended by a National Service discretion, also makes the list for an overall positive year that has seen him emerge as a reliable utility player. Meanwhile, Courts Young Lions' Sahil Suhaimi who has made his way to the senior team as well, and Delwinder Singh of Geylang International are also vying for the top youth honour.
The Foreign Player of the Year award is dominated by two in-form Koreans, Lee Kwan Woo of Home United who won the Singapore Cup in his first year at the club and Chang Jo-Yoon who helped team-mate Moon Soon Ho to the S.League Top Scorer award. Malaysia-bound, former Geylang skipper Jozef Kaplan is another frontrunner along with Balestier Khalsa's Paul Cunningham. The Tigers' captain recovered from an early season injury to guide the club to the League Cup. Sirina Camara, who re-discovered himself as a converted centreback and won the S.League Young Player of the Year award recently is another player to keep an eye on after his Singapore Cup success where he was also on the scoresheet. Tanjong Pagar's former Moroccan international Monsef Zerka is the final nominee in the category for his goalscoring exploits that helped the Jaguars to a strong finish this season.
Japanese football veteran, Miku Sakurada, who is incidentally the spouse of Warriors FC's Shimpei Sakurada, is the only foreigner in the Women's Player of the Year category for her form in the Women's Premier League and Challenge Cup. Former Singapore international Luo Jianzhen is also nominated along with younger players like Nuriah Mohd Noor, Kamaliah Hashim, Ernie Sulastri and Chris Yip-Au, all of whom have also had spells with the national team.
Negeri Sembilan's gain will be Singapore football's loss, but what better way for V.Sundramoorthy to depart than to get a recognition as one of the six coaches vying for the Coach of the Year award. Easily the hardest category to predict, Sundram will be up against S.League winner, Tay Peng Kee, who in a caretaker role led Tampines to their third consecutive league title, and his second. Singapore Cup winner Lee Lim-Saeng who has pledged to win the league next year is also nominated along with beaten finalist Patrick Vallee who will be at Tanjong Pagar for two more years. League Cup winner Darren Stewart who has already announced his departure from Balestier and Salim Moin for his remarkable turnaround of a floundering Woodlands team, are both given a nod as well.
To start voting for your favourite nominee go here:
VOTE: Women's Player of the Year
VOTE: Young Player of the Year
VOTE: Foreign Player of the Year
VOTE: Coach of the Year
VOTE: Player of the Year
The full list of nominees:
Women's Player of the Year
Nuriah Mohd Noor
Young Player of the Year
Foreign Player of the Year
Coach of the Year
Tay Peng Kee
Player of the Year
What is the Goal Singapore Football Awards?