In a month where they collected five wins out of five, naturally Albirex Niigata (S) would dominate the Team of the Month XI. But which other players made it to FourFourTwo’s S.League Team of the Month for April?
Goalkeeper: Yosuke Nozawa (Albirex)
Five matches played, just one goal conceded – enough said. The 36-year-old has been a pair of safe hands as he kept clean sheets against Hougang United, Home United, Tampines Rovers and Garena Young Lions.
The only blemish is letting in one against Brunei DPMM, but otherwise the former J-League custodian has showed his class with his ability to dominate his area and rush off the line to thwart opposition attackers.
Centre-back: Atsushi Shirota (Albirex)
A key reason for Albirex’s success in April is the excellence of Shirota, who has been impeccable at the back for the White Swans.
The 25-year-old, who plays a sweeper-like role, makes the difficult things look easy – often wriggling his way out of tight situations to play the ball out from the back. He is also equally capable at the other end, judging based on his headed goal in the 2-0 win against Hougang.
Centre-back: Abdil Qaiyyim (Home)
It was no wonder that Home fell to their worst defeat of the season (a 3-0 humbling by Albirex) when he was out through injury. Otherwise in the four matches Abdil played in, the Protectors did not lose.
The 27-year-old has been a real leader at the back for Philippe Aw’s side, often winning aerial duels and putting his body on the line to deny goalbound situations.
He might well make earn a recall to the Singapore national team if he keeps up this form.
Centre-back: M. Anumanthan (Hougang)
A real testament to a player’s abilities is whether he can excel when thrown into the deep end.
“Anu” had to fill in at the heart of the Hougang defence after Delwinder Singh suffered a freak injury in training, but ended up doing so well that he kept his spot there.
The 22-year-old made use of his excellent physique to muscle out opponents and also showed good concentration to snuff out dangerous balls into his area.