There is no denying that the first winner of the award, chosen by the Goal Singapore team, fully deserves it - and he is none other than goalkeeper Yazid Yasin.
Earlier this year on July 16, the 34-year-old made an incredible 400th S.League appearance when he turned out for Woodlands Wellington in a 5-2 win at Woodlands Stadium. Although not officially ratified by the S.League, the stocky custodian's long presence in the football scene is unmatched. Yazid has come a long way from his debut back in 1996 with the now-defunct Sembawang Rangers, at the young age of 17.
What is even more remarkable is that Yazid is the only player remaining from that inaugural S.League season to still be actively playing professional football, a feat he achieved when former Warriors FC goalkeeping coach and player, Rezal Hassan, hung up his boots after the 2012 campaign.
“It feels good to come this far!” Yazid told Goal Singapore back in August.
“I have been lucky with no serious injuries and that is the most important thing that has allowed me to play this long.”
The Rams stopper went on to make a further eight league appearances as Salim Moin's side finished fifth eventually, having finished the previous three seasons at the bottom of the table.
Yazid has certainly played his part, with his reflexes and agility showing no signs of decline as he pulled off a catalogue of brilliant saves throughout the campaign. Despite his relatively short 1.69 metre frame, the former Home United and Geylang United (now Geyland International) custodian is equally at ease in claiming aerial balls as well.
He has won every single domestic title on offer in his distinguished career so far and is fondly remembered by Eagles supporters for making a crucial penalty save in the 86th minute against Bangkok Glass in the 2009 Singapore Cup final. Geylang, who were leading 1-0 at that time, went on to win by the same scoreline.Perhaps a slight disappointment in his illustrious career is his solitary cap at international level for Singapore in 1999 against New Zealand in a friendly, despite his talent in between the sticks, but Yazid was playing in an era when the country boasted goalkeeping legends such as Rezal, Effendy Subtu and Adi Saleh.
With Woodlands already announcing that their number one has been retained for the upcoming 2014 season, we look forward to more excellence from Yazid - the deserved winner of the first-ever Goal Singapore Football Awards Milestone Award.
Teo Teng Kiat
Senior Editor, Goal Singapore