FFT’s 2016 S.League Awards
FourFourTwo Singapore writers were around to witness the ongoings on the 2016 S.League season, watching it culminate in the S.League Awards Night on Tuesday.
All the nominees and eventual winners were worthy candidates, but FourFourTwo felt that there were others who shone too and deserved some mentions.
Here, we present to you our choice for the Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and the Goal of the Year.
S.League Player of the Year nominees:
Atsushi Kawata (Albirex Niigata (S) - WINNER
Ken Ilso (Home United)
Hafiz Sujad (Tampines Rovers)
Fumiya Kogure (Hougang United)
FFT’s Player of the Year: Atsushi Kawata (Albirex Niigata (S))
There can be no disagreement over the choice of player. Without Atsushi Kawata, Albirex definitely did not look as fluid and they lacked a cutting edge up front.
Kawata’s 20 goals have definitely been crucial to Albirex’s success in sweeping all major trophies on the pitch and FourFourTwo Singapore writers believe he is without a doubt the S.League’s Player of the Year.
Special mention: Ken Ilso (Home United)
Also on the S.League’s original list of nominees, the Dane extended his stay with Home United to play in Singapore for another season and he certainly did lit up the scene with his silky runs and clinical finishing.
Ilso finished joint-second with Warriors' Jonathan Behe in the league scoring charts with 19 goals, just one behind eventual Golden Boot winner Rafael Ramazotti.
If the Protectors can convince the striker to stay on for another season, it will be a major coup indeed. However, Ilso is rumoured to have offers from overseas and is seriously considering them.
Special mention: Hafiz Sujad (Tampines Rovers)
It has been a while since Singapore had such a reliable player to call upon, but Hafiz has never let anyone down whenever he is played.
The Tampines Rovers man has played in an array of roles over the season, with injuries forcing Akbar Nawas’ hand.
Despite him having to adapt playing either as a defender, winger, central midfielder or even striker, Hafiz still managed to snag ten assists in the league and top the S.League’s assist charts.
If Hafiz was ignored for a nomination, it would have been a real travesty indeed.
Special mention: Yosuke Nozawa (Albirex Niigata (S))
Goalkeepers rarely are nominated for being the best player of the season, and Singapore’s No.1 Hassan Sunny is still the only goalkeeper to have clinched the coveted S.League Player of the Award in 2014, when he helped the Warriors to an unlikely record ninth S.League title.
However, Nozawa was easily the best goalkeeper in the S.League, keeping 13 clean sheets in the 21 games he played. In fact, the veteran only conceded 17 goals in total!
This where FourFourTwo writers disagreed with the S.League’s choice of putting Fumiya Kogure up for nomination, and thought Nozawa should have gotten the nod instead.
Make no mistakes, Kogure is definitely a superb player with his technical skills and passing, but he was unable to hit the heights of last season, no thanks to the large number of injuries Hougang had. Forced to operate in various roles across the field, Kogure just could not find the momentum he needed to show his best.