JDT sweep up Malaysian awards

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) players won seven awards - voted by coaches, club captains and football writers - at the 2015 Malaysian Football Awards on Friday night.

Led by 2015’s Most Valuable Player Safiq Rahim, a host of JDT players and their coach Mario Gomez had their triumphant season recognised at the season-end awards ceremony.

The Malaysia Super League champions swept to seven of the 22 awards handed out on Friday after finishing the season doing the double, sealing AFC Cup success on top of their domestic title, in the process becoming the first Southeast Asian club to lift the continental prize.

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Fresh from signing a new four-year deal with the Southern Tigers, Safiq also picked up the Best Midfielder award, fending off the challenge from Kedah’s Baddrol Bakhtiar and Pahang’s Hafiz Kamal.

The club and country skipper scored seven goals in JDT’s title defence, while his five goals fired the club to the AFC Cup win in October. The 28-year-old was also named the AFC Cup’s Most Valuable Player in a season laden with personal achievements.

Boasting the best defence in the MSL having conceded just 18 goals, JDT custodian Farizal Marlias and experienced defender Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak were named best in their respective categories, meanwhile.

Picking a local striker was always tough as most teams fielded imports up front, yet there was a clear winner in Malaysian Amri Yahyah. The 34-year-old evergreen Selangor forward scored five times in the 16 MSL appearances, and was easily Malaysia’s most exciting attacking player in 2015.

Amri Yahyah beat off tough competition to clinch the Best Striker award

Pahang right-back Matthew Davies picked up the Best Young Player award after leaving an impression on many since signing for Pahang in April. The Australian-born defender started out virtually an unknown in the country, but has now picked up five international caps for Harimau Malaya.

Argentine Luciano Figueroa edged Pahang’s Dickson Nwakaeme and PDRM’s Ali Ashfaq for the Best Foreign Player award. Figueroa, who is retiring from football, scored 12 goals in JDT’s triumphant MSL campaign, and five in the AFC Cup. He featured in the final against Tajikistan team Istiklol despite carrying an injury.

The remaining awards were picked by a panel from the Football Association of Malaysia. JDT were also given a special award in recognition of their AFC Cup win.

Full list of winners

Most Valuable Player: Safiq Rahim (JDT)
Best Coach: Mario Gomez (JDT)
Best Goalkeeper: Farizal Marlias (JDT)
Best Defender: Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak (JDT)
Best Midfielder: Safiq Rahim (JDT)
Best Striker: Amri Yahyah (JDT)
Best Foreign Player: Luciano Figueroa (JDT)
Best Young Player: Matthew Davies (Pahang)
Fair Play Award: LionsXII
Best Supporters Club: Elephant Army (Pahang)
Best Football Club: Kedah
Best Women’s Player: Nurul Azurin Mazlan (Sabah)
Best Men’s Futsal Player: Azrul Hadee Mohd Taufiq
Best Women’s Futsal Player: Siti Asnidah Zamri
Malaysia Super League Top Scorer: Dramane Traore (PDRM, 20 goals)
Malaysia Premier League Top Scorer: Francis Forkey Doe (Negri Sembilan, 17 goals)
Special Award: Johor Darul Ta’zim